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The York School:
The Our Kids Report > Reviews
Grades JK TO Gr. 12 — Toronto, ON (Map)


Interview with The York School Alum, Ryan Cho

Ryan Cho, an alumnus of the York School, shares his appreciation for the school's supportive teachers, close-knit community, and attention to the development of leadership skills. He credits his time at York with fostering academic and personal growth, building valuable skills, and preparing him adequately for university and beyond. Ryan recommends York for holistic student development.

Video Contents

Highlights from the interview

  • The first reason why I'd recommend the York School to other families is the teachers. I remember every single one of my teachers that I've had at York for each grade in each class, and I remember them because they were not only so kind and compassionate, but they also had such a passion for what they were teaching. The amount of support and care they put in each and every student was honestly just so exceptional. It's because of them I not only learned so many new things throughout my time at York, but I also learned to appreciate what I was learning and gain really valuable life skills and also just learned the importance of what it can mean to be a supportive leader.

  • What differentiates York from other schools is the sense of community, and I think a lot of that has to do with having a smaller community. You're going down the hallway and you'll bump into at least 10 people that you know or that you've talked to. Because we have that small size, it's an opportunity to meet other students and to really form close bonds. For teachers, that smaller size also allows them to also get to know the students a lot better and be able to have those kinds of quality interactions that both students and teachers want with each other. I got to know all of my teachers on an individual basis, and I was able to get the support I needed as a student.

  • York definitely made me a more confident person. I got into the debate program in Grade 6, when it was first offered, and I was super shy and super nervous. One of my friends said, ‘Hey, you should just join the debate, just for the fun of it.’ I was like, ‘Sure, but I'm not going to talk at all.’ Then six years went by and I had gone to South Africa for the World Independent Debate and Public Speaking Championships, where I was one of the youngest competitors in the whole entire tournament to represent Canada in Cape Town, South Africa. I'd gone to national and provincial championships for debate and public speaking. I think that opportunity within the debate program really allowed me to be a more confident person.

  • I have realised just how much York prepares you for university life, and I think that was just such a great asset that has really helped me succeed beyond York. I'm currently studying for joint honours in Geography and Political Science. The skills I learned at York, and with the IB Programme, were definitely transferable over to my degree, where there's a lot of writing, and where you constantly have to critically think about what you're writing.

  • In terms of socialising with others, having the ability to interact with people seamlessly, I found, was due to what I learned at York, because I had all these opportunities to lead initiatives and groups. I was the co-chair of the student council, which was absolutely fantastic. Now I'm one of the co-presidents of the Geography Society. It was a huge boost for me to be able to have those skills from York.

  • I believe one of York's critical values is developing leadership skills. There is a big emphasis for students to take leadership opportunities within co-curriculars, to lead and help groups of students learn. Once students enter the senior school, there's opportunities to become debate captains, mentors, junior school aftercare helpers, and all three of those amazing extracurriculars and initiatives I had the privilege of being a part of.

  • Something else that is emphasised at York is commitment, ensuring that when students are going out to try new skills and to learn things, that they're committed and dedicated. I definitely think that leadership and commitment are two very much interwoven values within York.

  • I would recommend to all parents to encourage their student, their kid to join extracurriculars, to join a sports team at York or join a club. We have such a wide variety of initiatives, community service events and clubs at York, whether it be debate or even Dungeons & Dragons Club. There's so many different opportunities for such a wide array of skill sets and passions and interests for every student. Co-curriculars are not mandatory but are a great way to experience the spirit and the community life at York. I'd really recommend joining just one or two. I think extracurriculars play an invaluable part in connecting the school community together.

  • When the teachers at York talk about success, they don’t just mean academic success. They're also talking about the students’ social ability to just interact with others, form close relationships and bonds, and to ensure that everybody's mental health is doing well and it's sustainable. Your child is going to be in such a welcoming and safe space, where there's not going to be this bitter competition for the best grades or popularity contests. It’s a space where you want to learn.

  • One thing that really helped me is that York taught me how to ask for help. As somebody who was incredibly shy and nervous growing up, I initially didn't ask any questions in class, and didn’t volunteer for anything. But being in an environment like the York School, where the teachers are supportive and the community is supportive, it allowed me to learn how to ask for help and to learn how to advocate for myself and to say, ‘I'm struggling with this, and I need help.’ York really helped me learn those really vital skills, which have been so important now, especially as I transition into adulthood and into university.


More about The York School

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Key insights on The York School

Each school is different. The York School's Feature Review excerpts disclose its unique character. Based on discussions with the school's alumni, parents, students, and administrators, they reveal the school’s distinctive culture, community, and identity.

See key insights about The York School

Our Kids Feature Review

The 50-page review of The York School is part of our series of in-depth accounts of Canada's leading private schools. It provides a unique and objective perspective on the school's academics, programs, culture, and community.

  • The York School is the definition of an urban school, one that identifies with, reflects, and makes significant instructional use of the urban context.
  • Character programs and staff development illustrate a commitment to building positive relationships as the foundation for learning.
  • Innovative programs give life and breadth to a strong core academic program.
  • The York School was created to appeal to learners who are inclined toward academic achievement.
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Our Kids Feature Review video

Learn about The York School's unique and defining characteristics through this informative video.

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Parent, Mitch Green (2023)

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More written reviews


Parent, Heather Faralla (2022)

I have three boys at The York School and started four years ago with my eldest in Grade 9. He is now graduating this year and what a wonderful experience this has been – for our entire family. Aft...


Parent, Glenn Asano (2021)

Without hesitation, both our children (Gr. 8 and 11) cite their teachers at the school as being the experience they appreciate most at York. Enthusiastic, passionate and encouraging are the words that...


Alum, Lani Stern (2018)

The York School is a community that shaped me into the person that I am today. The list of opportunities is almost comical, to name some: band, choir, basketball, softball, volleyball, ultimate, chess...


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