Roundtable Q&A Discussion About The Sacred Heart School of Montreal (2020)
The Sacred Heart School of Montreal alumni, current students, and parents shared their insights on the school’s culture, values, strengths, and weaknesses. Hear what Kennedy Lane, Tara, Jennifer Newton had to say about the school.
Highlights from the Q&A discussion
Kennedy Lane — alum
Kennedy attended Sacred Heart School of Montreal for her Grade 10 and 11 years. She was the service coordinator in the Sacred Heart student council, before graduating in 2016. She now attends university.
- “In terms of Sacred Heart, it's a very close knit, welcoming community.”
- “I did Grade 10 and 11. It's kind of a rough time to switch. So, obviously I wasn't looking forward to switching, but when I got there, everyone was just so welcoming and friendly, right off the bat, I just felt like home to me. So just having that close-knit environment was fantastic. ... There's lots to get involved in at Sacred Heart. There's lots of sports ... but then also lots of clubs involving arts, robotics, etc.”
- “Even if there's something that doesn't particularly interest your [child] they can start anything they want. I know the school is very open to creating new clubs. I know since I've graduated, there's been much more that's added, so I can't even imagine what's available for them to try. So it's just a really fun, welcoming environment.”
- “I know Sacred Heart is very involved in the community and giving back, which is a nice bonus. Not as many schools are as involved in that aspect—I enjoyed it. It was one of my favourite parts of my position on the student council … . It was just a wonderful experience that you got to see that the school doesn't just care about you but also cares about the community around it.”
Tara — alum and current parent
- School alumni
Tara attended Sacred Heart School of Montreal 35 years ago, and when it was time to decide where her two daughters would go, Sacred Heart was the right choice. She was on the parents’ guild for many years, and remains on the alumni board.
- “Sacred Heart has a long-standing tradition in our family. My mother went to Sacred Heart, my aunt went to Sacred Heart, my sister went to Sacred Heart, and I graduated 35 years ago. For my girls, it wasn't like I forced them to go to Sacred Heart, but it seemed to be a really good fit for who they were … they struggled academically, and I think the small class sizes were appealing.”
- “I think because of my history with Sacred Heart, I thought, ‘you know what, let's try it.’ And it actually ended up being a good fit for both my girls … . I thought it was a no-brainer, really.”
- “I would say as well that if your child is struggling, in any subject, the teachers are available at any hour of the day. I've written many emails asking about a history assignment, or a test mark, or whatever, and always within about an hour they answer back. We want to say, ‘don't you have a life,’ but they're amazing.”
- “You can be there as much as you want or as little as you want. When I first came back to Sacred Heart, when my eldest started, I joined the Parents Guild, and for five years, I stayed there. They have monthly meetings, and they host a bunch of activities throughout the year, basically to support either the faculty or the school. They also do a bit of fundraising that goes back to the school. So by the end of it, I would become the president of the Parents Guild, which I absolutely loved.”
- “And I was kind of sad when my youngest was graduating because I was going to be at a loss of what to do with myself. I then joined the alumni board and I'm still part of that. So, the nice thing about Sacred Heart is that you can really be as involved as you want to be. Some schools don't want the parents to be there at that point and during high school because they feel it's just too much.”
- “Sacred Heart is definitely very welcoming with parents, and I think that's what makes it for me. It was a great experience getting to know the parents of my daughter's friends, and also seeing the school in action, even though some things haven't really changed since I was there 35 years ago. But it's really nice and it's still a big part of me, even my girls, we can share a lot of discussions about the school.”
Jennifer Newton — alum and current parent
- School alumni
Jennifer attended Sacred Heart School of Montreal for five years, and graduated in 2006. She then went to university, and got certified to become a teacher. She got a job at Sacred Heart and has been working there for seven years.
- “I loved my five years at Sacred Heart. It was like… home. I enjoyed going to school every day. I enjoyed the friends that I made there, and the connection with the teachers was huge. So when the opportunity came up for me, it was like it was a dream.”
- “The school population comes from a wide area of Montreal, too. So there's a lot of girls from the West Island, the South Shore, from downtown, from the East End. And it really brings a lot of diversity into the school. I find that everyone just becomes more open and learning to just get to know, like just different parts of the city.”
- “It's very down to earth, a very spirited school, that's like the two things that made me love it back then, and still now.”
- “The teachers speak very often about how we can help each of the classes. We find each class has very different needs. So all the teachers come together very often and brainstorm how we can help a specific class. Like right now, one of the SEC one classes, we find that they're struggling with the different online platforms like Google Classroom and COBA. So we've found time where certain teachers will address what we think their needs are.”
- “Our indoor facilities are fantastic, we do have a very large gym. In terms of outdoors, we don't have anything close. We have a little bit of a grassy area. … It's not a big enough space to really run around that much. What I have done this year is, I brought my classes up to Mount Royal. It's only about a 15-minute walk. And then we'll either do an activity there or I'll take them to the lookout and then I'll bring them back, for sports.”
- “We've rented out the reservoir at McGill. We've also rented out the green space below us, which now belongs to Centennial. So we should be able to rent that out again. We do our soccer and our football home games at Kent Park, which is about a 15-minute drive. We do have an activity bus which makes it pretty easy to get to and from places. And then for other sports, like swimming, there's a pool that's about 15 minutes that we drive to.”
- “The new wellness center will be like a fitness area. So we'll have some cardio machines, but also a lot of tracks, a punching bag, ... and some areas to do body weight exercises.”
- “We're also going to have a health classroom so we can talk about nutrition, their mental health, things like that, and there will also be a dance studio as well. So our building is large enough that we have the space within it to create this very large health and wellness center.”
- “So, 70 percent of our students are Catholic and 30 percent are not. Quebec has a course, called ethics and religious studies, which is across the province in all high schools ... . Sacred Heart is part of a worldwide network of 151 schools in 40 countries. We are all held together with five goals and we instill these five goals within all of our grade levels. We have about 10 mandatory masses per year that are held in the chapel when it's not the pandemic.”