Breslau, ON | Grades 9 - 12 | Shortlist
I love attending Woodland. The teachers are both engaging in the classroom and encouraging outside the classroom. There are clubs for everyone and every type of personality that are a lot of fun and help students connect with peers from their grade and other grades as well. There are biweekly chapels which are always a great time to connect with students through worship and learning about both God and current issues in our community. If I were to change anything I would probably ask for more spaces for quiet. Currently, we have the library, but I think it would be helpful if there were a few more spaces or a larger space for quiet, especially when it comes to exam season.
I definitely respect the leadership in the school. The teachers are very approachable and easy to talk to. The guidance counsellors are extremely helpful to go talk to if anything good or bad is going on in my life. We also have a team of student government who make life at Woodland more enjoyable with activities inside and outside of the school day. For example, in the spring, they put together a water carnival at lunch which is always a great way to interact with peers and teachers in a low-pressure environment
I think the teaching is very engaging and easy to follow. When it isn't, it's easy to talk to the teachers and ask for an explanation. For example, I really dislike asking questions in class, and so if I have a question about a lesson or about an assignment it is very easy to ask teachers directly after class or later that day during lunch or a spare. I always clearly know what is expected from me as with every assignment comes a paper with the teachers marking rubric on it. I think the teachers know all their students fairly well since class sizes are smaller. Because of this, I feel as though they are able to know what success in the classroom looks like for each individual and don't have 1 standard for every single student.
I think that the curriculum is very good. I think that we as students are pushed out of our comfort zone enough for it to make a difference, but not so much that it becomes too cumbersome or too much to handle. I think that what we are learning will be useful in life. For example, in grade ten I was in a communication technology course that produced the yearbook for that year. That class gave me skills that I hope to use later in life, as I will be minoring in media communications next year in university. In that class, I was the editor in chief of the yearbook and I got an opportunity to delegate tasks, make difficult decisions, interview other students, and just generally help produce a good yearbook that the entire student body could enjoy. I think what I learned in that class will help me greatly as I move on in my education and in my future career as I hope to pursue a career in editing.
I love the extracurricular activities that Woodland provides. I am a part of the choir, the robotics team, the praise team, and am the co editor in chief of our arts magazine, Chisel. There are so many more extracurriculars as well that I don't take part in, but that I know people really appreciate. I believe there is something for everyone.
I think if I were to describe the students at Woodland it would be like a small community. We are a small enough school that everyone knows everyone, and it makes for great connections throughout all grades. Of course, there are people who don't get along, but that is to be expected when you put any group of people together, especially teenagers. I feel as though the students who do "the best" at the school are individuals who put their mental health first. I think that the students who are willing to admit when they need help with their mental health and slow down once and a while generally do better than those who ignore their mental health and constantly push themselves.
If I were to give a tour of the school, I would first take the visitors to the auditorium. It is essentially the lifeblood of the school. Our auditorium is where we meet for chapels, where most students eat lunch, and where many students are during spare. It also is where our mainstage drama productions happen, as well as our Christmas and Spring Concerts. Before our expansion, it used to be the school's gym. Besides classroom learning, I believe the auditorium is where students learn the most about each other, themselves, and their community. For example, I have become great friends with people and have interesting conversations with them because of our mutual spare periods we spend in the auditorium. It is a huge part of Woodland's community and an integral part of the school.
As I said before, the school does feel like a small community. Of course there are particular groups of people and or friends, but that is based on common interest. The different groups do not exclude the others per se, but it just naturally separates. If forced, the various groups can talk fairly well with each other. But again, we are teenagers and so we don't all constantly get along all the time. For example, my group is more of drama people and gamers, but I am able to enjoy conversations with people who are more of jocks. Even though I don't really have too much in common with them, I am still able to talk to them and enjoy talking to them when I do.
Some senior students (grades eleven and twelve), if they drive in, or if they have friends who drive in, will leave campus during spares and / or lunches to go to one of the nearby fast food restaurants. The options that are available are close enough to drive to, but not close enough to walk to, which I think is a good thing as it would prevent students from skipping class to walk to one of these places.
As part of my admissions process, I got the opportunity to be a shadow student for a day. This means that, as a grade eight student, I got to be paired up with a grade nine student for a day and go to their classes with them and see what the school was really like on a day to day basis. I remember I was paired with a student who was a lot like myself and had a similar personality to mine which really helped ease my nerves for the day. I got to meet the teacher who then taught me over the next four years and meet students who would be in the grade above mine and who I would get to connect with again over the coming years. Being a shadow student for a day at Woodland really helped to calm my anxieties about going to high school the following year.