Caronport, SK | Grades 9 - 12 | Shortlist
My experience at CHS was absolutely wonderful. Everything from the quality of the education to the passion of the teachers to the intensity of the spiritual formation helped to make my high school years some of the best of my life. Looking back, Caronport High School would be nothing if not for the teachers and staff. Each teacher genuinely wants to teach and wants to help their students succeed. They act as teachers but also as mentors and coaches, prayer warriors and friends. That deep level of love from each and every teacher is the thing that stands out most in my mind about CHS. As is such, the teachers are what I most enjoyed about CHS because they made everything else about the school and academics that much better. If I were to change anything, it would be the Christian Ethics classes very specifically. Compared to the academic vigor of the other classes and the challenging chapels, CE fell short. I don't think the CE classes push students to really think about faith and God the way the other classes push its students to think about history or science or math. I feel very prepared for life because of CHS. My transition into college caused very little stress as CHS had already taught me the mechanics of writing essays, doing research, and to critically think about things like literature which put me a head of a lot of my classmates when it came time to write papers and tests. A prospective student should expect to work hard and be challenged intellectually and spiritually, but should also expect to be taken care of in all aspects of life from academic to emotional to spiritual.
The dominant trait of CHS leadership is how much each staff person cared for and personally dealt with any problems or concerns that might come up. I never felt like my concerns or suggestions or questions for the administration went unheard or delegated to someone else. I interacted closely with the principal when working on events and projects for the school like art events or extra curricular events. The administration was greatly respected during my time at CHS and for good reason. Each staff member worked diligently in administrative aspects, but also continued to model the same kind of personal care that the teachers displayed. That being said, the respect was not hierarchical. The [other] students and I never felt as if we had to be serious all the time with the staff. Many bonds were made over jokes and casual conversations which I believe increased the respect of the administration by allowing a personal level of acquaintance to prevail over the usual student and leadership figure roles. The respect went both ways as students were eager to share their achievements and daily conversations with administration as well as set up meetings for concerns and personal growth. The leadership was competent and effective, taking charge of events, but also allowing the student government space and time to work with and among the staff. I always felt safe and listened to when I went to the leadership with problems or issues relating to the school or my own personal education. They have in place many policies and action plans for helping students who are struggling academically or having issues with discipline which personally involve students and then are catered to the specific needs and circumstances of the students. I found communication very effective, often hearing things during school as well as getting reminders and information via email which my parents always got as well.
The teachers were absolutely wonderful. The education at CHS is extremely high and it has definitely helped me going forward into college. I have who have gone to other schools and commented on how easy the work is in other schools compared to CHS. The academics were very high level. The teachers and students got along very well in and out of class. In class, most of the dynamic is teacher and student, but there are many moments when the teachers invite students to participate and interact which brings the formality down and allows students to speak up and share their insights. The respect from both parties was evident and humour is not uncommon in classes. The atmosphere the teachers model is one of passionate learning and growing in a way that feels fun and connective to real life as opposed to a stiff facts and figures only type of learning. The teachers all brought different teaching methods to class giving each student and learning style a chance to thrive. If there is ever any issue, teachers are always willing to discuss how they can help solve the issue or help the student troubleshoot the problem. The teachers were knowledgeable in their subjects and often would do further research if they were unsure of something a student inquired about and return to the idea once they learned more. All the teachers marked fairly and according to the rubrics they provided for assignments. Expectations for specifics of assignments were always clear and easy to understand. My teachers definitely fostered my love of learning and knowledge through their encouragement and own passion of their subjects. Nothing inspires me more than a teacher who loves what they do so badly wants you to understand why they love what they love so much and challenge you to discover that same love. Each of my teachers had an incredible impact on me and my education. I think particularly, Mr. Bell and his history classes really brought history to life by not just teaching facts and figures, but by challenging me to think about the facts as well as the emotions, motivations, and issues that appear from the decisions made in the past. In the same way, Miss Klipp taught me my favourite classes, pushed me to write stronger, better essays, and showed me the utmost importance of empathy when reading, when studying, when interacting with people in my life and people not in my life. She showed me the beauty and wonderful complexities of English and Shakespeare. Mrs. Ike took me under her wing in a sense. She pushed me in creative writing to try new things that were hard and difficult. She inspired me and taught me how to write in new ways. She always had extra time to spend with students like me who wanted to further the things we were doing in class in our personal time. Students coming into CHS should know that you won't be able to leave CHS without a teacher coming alongside you while you study and work, but also leave with you by encouraging you to take on the world in new and innovative ways.
I believe that CHS has a very high standard in their academics and that it is expected of students to work for excellence in this area. The academic program is strong in its range and accessibility to students. As well as offering the required courses for graduation, there are electives that can be taken to further study in particular areas like creative writing and online or correspondence classes that give students the opportunities to study things like computer science, agriculture and law. The inclusion of a Christian Ethics class which allows students to earn credit while learning about their faith is also crucial to a private Christian school. Another wonderful opportunity and unique privilege that the CHS academics boast is their Briercrest college credit program which allows grade 12 students to take first year college classes, if needed for credit, which often transfer into a later program. I took a first year English class and was happily surprised by how well the academics of CHS and Briercrest College lined up. I did very well in the class due to the way the CHS academics focus on preparing students for higher education. As said before, I think that the Christian Ethics classes could push students more and help them learn to think critically about the Bible and to analyse and grow their faith the way regular courses help to grow academic skills and knowledge. I just found the Christian Ethics classes to not be held to the same level of academic achievement as regular classes which is a pity considering it is a private Christian School and the chapel program and spiritual events program were very well done. From my perspective, the student body benefited from the vigorous academics and responded appropriately by regular study and tutoring. CHS has an impressive tutoring system which employs many people from high school students eager to help younger students, to college students to trusted adults. Tutoring was very common and very helpful when you needed an extra one-on-one boost in a subject. I think the academics of CHS are the least talked about among the students of the things CHS offers. For better or for worse there are many things to be excited about and so academics were rarely a source of conversation I found among the general student body. With my own friend group of course we talked about academics and strove to encourage oneanother and help eachother to meet deadlines and understand assignments. I never witnessed any particular competition in academic achievement as students were more often encouraged to do their best rather than to be the best. I specifically appreciated the way CHS prepared me to write essays, format papers, do proper research, cite sources correctly and generally teach me the rules of grammar and writing organisation. This showed up in a variety of classes and while most used the common MLA format, we were able to also experience the differences between formats in classes like Psychology which uses APA.
Caronport has extracurricular for every facet of life, and if they don't the staff are more than willing to form new groups and clubs to accommodate different interests. There's a heavy emphasis on sports teams with soccer, football, volleyball, basketball, track, and badminton. These teams were formal teams that worked under a coach and went to tournaments. There's lots of enthusiasm from both the athletes and the fans during games. There are also intramural sports like hockey for students looking for less commitment and more just for fun. The arts boasted many opportunities in all varieties. There's a hip hop dance team, several drama performance opportunities in the high school, but also in partnership with Briercrest College. The choir is quite amazing and practices all year round and then goes on tour during Easter and sings with the College choir at the Briercrest Christmas musical so there is lots of exposure there. During the year there are events like cheesecake cafe which is a talent show/open mic event for people to show their singing or instruments or bands. This event is a huge hit and a lot of fun for participators and the student audience. There is also fine art opportunities. The fine arts club meets throughout the year and often is recruited to do art design and murals around the school building and given gallery space at events like cheesecake cafe to display the art they've been working on throughout the year. Besides art and sports there are international meals hosted by students who prepare food from their cultural backgrounds, there are board game team meetings, I was a part of a pro-life group and there is also many events and ways students are encouraged to volunteer. Going to soup kitchens and old folks homes and hosting Sunday services are just a few of the ways students can volunteer via the school. I found the wide range of activities available to students very encouraging and beneficial to students who come from many backgrounds and have different passions and interests. I loved everything I did extracurricular wise and found that the activities encouraged me to try new things and develop skills that I had interest in as well as bond with people sharing the same passions. One of the best extracurriculars that I participated in was going on a trip to Europe with a group of staff and students. For a year and half we worked together to raise money, learn about the destination and prepared to go to Europe. The experience was incredible. To this date it was the best thing I've ever done and I'm so glad I got to do it through CHS because I likely wouldn't have gone otherwise. The tour program we went with did all the work for us so all we had to do was go and enjoy ourselves. Definitely a highlight to see everything I had been learning about in my classes come to life in such an immersive and cultural experience. There's something for everyone at CHS to do outside of class, and the beauty is how flexible and willing the staff are to try new things and encourage new clubs to form.
The student body of CHS is small compared to other schools. There was probably about 120 students while I was there with 50 of them in grade 12. I've never been to another high school, so I don't know how typical this is, but it was often hard to tell which grade students were in as the grades mingled and mixed quite a lot. Its not uncommon for grade 11s to take grade 12 classes or for grade 9 and 10s to hang out at lunch or in the halls. From my perspective the students are friendly. Everyone knows everyone else and friendships span across the grades. I would say the typical student was glad to be at CHS and was proud of their school, was willing to grow in their faith and was more or less working hard at their classes. I think the student body held to very typical "Canadian" and "Christian" values. Everyone is polite and willing to lend a helping hand, they are generous and spirited for their teams and fellow classmates. We welcomed people into our school and adopted new people quickly into friend groups. There's a variety of students from people who live right in Caronport to people living in dorm from Saskatchewan and Canada as well as a significant range in international students from Asia. In my last year we had a group of First Nations come from their reserve in Ontario to the school and having them as a part of our school was amazing. I don't really know, but I would say most of the students come from middle class families.
I loved my high school career. Teachers and students and events all made it a wonderful and unique experience. School life included things like the chapel program and formal events and galas as well as the student government putting on spirit days and pep rallies. The teachers' enthusiasm helped to create a strong academic and spiritual atmosphere for the students and there were lots of plans and support systems in place (like tutoring) to help students succeed. The students were encouraging to each other in sports and arts and in the halls. There was lots of familiarity and safety among them and it was hard to feel out of place when students compliment and pray for one another regularly. There was a bit of a divide between dorm kids and not dorm kids just due to the nature of dorm kids living together and Caronport kids living with their families. But there were community leaders and dorm leaders in place to support both types of students and once classes begin or sporting games start, the divide goes away pretty quickly. I think there was a common level of stress that would be found in any high school. It's a stressful time. There are assignments and events, friendships and identities to figure out and learning how to balance it all is difficult, but the teachers in their regular prayer and support worked to help the students get through the stress. Spiritual formation events and weeks like Spiritual Emphasis were especially important to CHS school life. Those nights of focussing in on the Bible, praying and working through hard life questions as a school were incredible and always a hit with students.
There are lots of alumni connections in the school, especially from students who have gone on to start their own businesses or have even come back to work at the school. The school prays for its alumni and recognises them at events like grad. Parents are always welcome to attend events and games and encouraged to keep in the loop of their students by coming to things like Spiritual Emphasis. Since graduating the school hasn't been far away. I visit occasionally and chat with anyone I see who is still attending CHS. My class has kept together quite well and we tended to flock to similar schools, so my friend group is mostly CHS alumni. I've kept in contact with a lot of my teachers and find its wonderful to see them and chat with them.
The nature of Caronport is the fact that it is built around the schools. Thus the school grounds are the town. Meaning there isn't much to do within Caronport. There are certain hang outs like The point (wonderful coffee shop) or the Den (board games and hang out centre), but students will often venture into Moose Jaw for entertainment. Thankfully, CHS puts on lots of events like movie nights and sport watching days so there is still things to do if a student doesn't have a car or way to get into Moose Jaw. Lots of students get involved with their church in Caronport giving them opportunities to serve and do things separate from the school while still technically remaining on campus. We often, for better or for worse say that Caronport, the town and the school are in a bubble. It's a spiritual oasis, but besides going for a walk, there's not many sights or events outside of the school to take in. I personally loved that about CHS as it made the entire school feel more immersive, but I know lots of people who find the isolation frustrating. I think it depends on the kind of person you are.
CHS requires strict student behaviour guidelines during application. There's no tolerance for drugs, sex, or alcohol. There's significant emphasis on putting the spiritual life first by becoming a regular attendee of a church and giving up bad habits and addictions. The application isn't hard. It's best to be honest on it so that the teachers and staff can help serve the students and know what issues or problems a person might have from the beginning rather than trying to hide issues or fears or problems until they become even bigger and solutions are more difficult. As said before the student's success is very important to the CHS staff, so honesty on the application is truly the best policy. I had no issues getting applied or determining whether or not CHS was the right school for me.
I had no issues at all with guidance in both career and higher education. The staff in charge advised me and helped me to find universities offering the programs that I wanted and were eager to provide details and information about scholarships and entry for any interest I had. They worked with me through possible options and university paths in order to feel aware and prepared to make a decision about which university to attend. Throughout the years, CHS also gives course planning assemblies to help students take the correct courses so they can get into the correct programs at post-secondary schools. This was extremely helpful, even if a student wasn't quite sure what they wanted to do after high school. There were ample opportunities to go to experience different university campuses and many presentations from universities during career fairs and individual presentations. I took a work-placement course which also helped to solidify my plans and application to my first choice higher education school. CHS supported me throughout the process and I was able to get references from my teachers and staff.