REVIEW OF Upper Canada College BY student, Will Huang
- Date of Review
January 23, 2018
Gr. 3 - 8
(5) Student Experience
My time so far at Upper Canada has been absolutely amazing. I truly love every time I come to school and see the towering clocktower above you. I first came to UCC in grade 3 and I looked up at the clocktower and felt nervous and excited at the same time. I am so grateful that I still feel the same way. As a student at UCC I have had the privilege to express myself to the fullest within the many arts and sports programs along with many clubs. I have always had many classmates around me who are not just a friend group but more of a brotherhood.. We have a saying at the College called 'Never Walk Alone'. This motto is a great summary of the type of culture we have at the school and I can relate to the saying more and more each year. I think that UCC should be seen as a home away from home as I have occasionally had the feeling that I was attending Hogwarts.
(5) School Leadership
Throughout my time at UCC I have developed an immense amount of respect in the school leaders. Not only do they fulfill our expectation in their roles at the school but they surpass that bar. The headmasters, deans, and counsellors all exceed our expectations by doing the little things that make your day better. For example, during our advising periods our headmaster sends out topics for discussion that are very thoughtful about mental health and world issues. At the College students may misplace their belongings throughout the large building and students email our dean of students their lost item so that the email can be forwarded to the entire school. Once a month now it has become a tradition for our dean to send an email titled 'Character Spotlight' which lists all the boys that have found and returned these misplaced items to their owners. I think that the school leadership at the College is unmatched and will always be unique.
The greatest privilege of attending UCC is the teachers because they provide you with such a special educational experience that you will never forget. Every teacher has certain tendencies and interests that always keep me engaged. I find that all the teachers are very passionate about their subject and will adapt to the students to achieve their learning goal for the day. The teachers all have different personalities and I often remember them as knowledgeable, and humorous. The teachers will always be available for students who have personalized questions. I think that the most important aspect of teaching at UCC is the relationship between teacher and student. The teachers provide a learning environment where a student can be comfortable and friendly but the relationship remains appropriate to a classroom environment. I feel this is significant because it allows passive learners to step out of their comfort zone and engage in the lesson being taught.
Upper Canada College is able to provide an exceptional academic experience for all students. UCC provides special programs for students that either find the work in a specific course too easy or too hard. I was placed in the enriched Math and French programs and I found that I enjoyed those subjects much more as a result. I have a handful of peers who participate in a course called GLS (general learning skills) as an alternative for French. Many students that are already familiar with a second language can find learning a third challenging and the school gives those students a course to learn about preparing for other subjects. I think that the work I was given was at a very reasonable level. At times it was challenging but I would never classify the work as too difficult. I have always been able to complete the work if I created a plan and executed that plan. Since UCC is an IB school I often found myself doing much more complex work compared to my friends from different schools. I thought this has been a great experience learning about concepts that were usually supposed to be taught 1-2 years later.
I take part in many extracurriculars activities including many clubs and teams at school as well as outside sport teams. I have been fortunate enough for opportunities UCC has given me to play on the soccer, hockey, basketball, softball and volleyball teams. I also participate in both concert and jazz bands. I participate in a variety of activities and balancing school work and extracurriculars became very challenging. But, with the support of my family and friends I was able to manage all of my activities. UCC offers so many different opportunities that all students have the ability to access. The school allows students to actually create their own clubs for people to join. I myself am trying to participate in as many clubs as I can including debate, entrepreneurial, and marketing club. What is so great about extracurriculars at UCC is that everybody will have the chance to find something they are passionate about outside of school.
I think that Upper Canada College has a great student atmosphere. We have a very diverse culture at UCC and I am very fortunate to interact with such a great group of people at a young age. A lot of the people that thrive at UCC are students who are not afraid to socialize. Making a lot of connections with different people everyday is natural for a student at UCC because you interact with many other students in your own year but also younger and older boys as well with regularity. I think everyone feels included at the school because there are always opportunities for people to participate. These activities can appeal to a wide variety of people and usually a lot of shy students can thrive in these activities. At UCC we have a saying called 'Never Walk Alone'. Our school motto is a great way to represent our student body. Students at UCC never feel like they are alone because there is always someone to have their back. This saying translates to all grades of the school and is something that all students abide by.
(5) School Life
I think if I was giving a tour of UCC to a group of visitors I would take them to Laidlaw Hall. Laidlaw is our main auditorium that houses all the students and faculty every Monday and Friday for assemblies. At these assemblies we honour very special speakers and we acknowledge what they have to say by showing respect and patience. In the auditorium, the walls are covered with names from history and academic achievements along with medals and awards. The documented walls serve as motivation and inspiration to all. To end these assemblies all grades 8-12 put an arm over one another and sing a song that reinforces how we “never walk alone”. The song unites all the students within the room. I think that Laidlaw Hall is a very special place at UCC and the things that occur within the hall summarizes student life well.
Upper Canada College has an incredibly engaged community. Parents are always the most involved when it comes to organizing major events which includes Winterfest, A-Day and many more. UCC also has a very strong relationship with alumni or 'Old Boys'. Alumni frequently return to the college for speeches and to talk about their successes and challenges at the school and in their current life. I always enjoy the alumni who talk about overcoming their challenges because I think that I can always improve in that aspect. There is never a shortage of people volunteering to participate at sporting events, theatre performances, or debate nights. We always find many generations of families attending school events. Overall, I think that the college has an extremely lively community that strives to make everyone feel appreciated.
(4.5) School Location
Upper Canada College is situated on Lonsdale Road and is surrounded by busy Avenue road as well, but the grounds are a private and quiet space. The college has an entire hedge which surrounds the perimeter of the school and within are fields, tennis courts, ice rinks and classrooms that I feel lucky and privileged to share. There are multiple bus stops around UCC which makes it convenient for students to come to school using public transit but there are multiple areas for the majority of boys who are dropped off by car. Students in the older grades such as 11 and 12 only go off campus for other sources of food a short walk away from the campus. I think a great thing about UCC is that we are extremely close to BSS. BSS is an all girls private school and I think its important to be close to a school like that because we do not have much interaction with girls during the school day as we are an all boys school. Since UCC and BSS are at a short distance it makes it easy for the two schools to collaborate in theatre productions.