First Month Report Card
Nestled within each of the 1,070 boys who will wear their crested school blazers this week for the first time this new school year ---- just as many stories about their journey to St. Michael's College School --- why they chose SMCS, their journey here, and the early impact of their new academic surroundings.
Thomas and Evan, both Grade 7 students are among the newest faces, having just completed their first month in a brand new school.
Their parents recently attended a Breakfast with the President and Principal hosted by Fr. Jefferson Thompson, CSB ’79 and Mr. Greg Reeves ’73.
Introduced four years ago, the breakfasts are designed as an informal gathering where new parents of Grades 7 and 9 meet other parents from their sons' grade, form early connections, exchange stories, and are welcomed to the school.
Thomas and Evan's parents were among others who stood up to a room of new faces to share their families' route to SMCS.
"We felt welcome and like a part of the extended St. Mike’s family right from our first visit to the school last year! And that feeling has grown exponentially since then," says Peter Duda.
His wife Deliska adds, "We came to visit the school as a family during one of the Open Houses. We were treated to an amazing tour of the premises by Mr. John Walsh ’73 [Head of Community Partnerships]. We were very impressed by how polite, helpful, and engaged the students are, as well as the staff. You truly felt a camaraderie and a brotherhood was present. My husband was so taken by the impressive display of the students in uniform lining-up on either side of the auditorium and performing a secret St. Michael’s “Maori chant” that I had to remind him that he would not be the one attending the school, but rather our son!"
Thomas came from a French Catholic elementary school in the city's west end, not knowing anyone at SMCS on day one.
Perhaps most surprising? "Thomas chose to go to St. Michael’s. It was the only private school he applied to," says his mother.
Now mere days into the new school year, he appears to be transitioning smoothly and then some, according to his parents.
He "has volunteered to help as a student ambassador for the Open Houses and for Shadow Days," says dad, Peter.
"Thomas has always been a good student, independent and friendly, but his enthusiasm for school lately is palpable," says his mom. "He particularly loved the first week of camp. He is excited to go to school at St. Michael’s every day, loves his teachers, classmates and all the activities the school has to offer."
She recalls this particular anecdote that recently played out at the family's dinner table. "Thomas reminded me of the time when he was little and he used to ask us for an older brother for Christmas, something he asked for on his Christmas list to Santa for three years running," says Deliska. "Needless to say, we had to explain to him at the time that the elves “had run out of older brothers”. He then told me: “Look at me now, I have hundreds of brothers to choose from!”. It was such an honest sentiment. I almost cried. It was by far the best endorsement of St. Michael’s any parent could ever wish to hear."
‘A little concerned’ describes some of the emotion Lisa Hardess admits to feeling about her son Evan's journey to St. Michael's College School.
"SMCS was the only private school to which we applied because it was the place Evan most wanted to be," says Lisa.
In addition, being non-Catholic left her wondering if Evan would be accepted and welcomed.
"Our family is Protestant and we have enjoyed the welcome we, and Evan specifically, have received at SMCS," says Lisa. "Our experience has met our expectations. When we decided to look at private school last fall, the Open Houses had finished, and SMCS was very welcoming and provided a comprehensive tour. Evan really enjoyed the Shadow Day and we felt it was an excellent way for the students to get a glimpse of life at SMCS, and for the Admissions team to get to know the candidates," she says.
Evan, the oldest of two boys, previously attended Rosedale Public School. So far, his mom says he is adapting nicely to a whole new academic world.
Evan "has made new friends and always has lots to talk about when he gets home from his day at school," says Lisa. He seems both challenged and supported in his school work and has jumped right in to be an Ambassador for upcoming Open Houses and Shadow Days."
Lisa adds that their family's decision to apply to only one private school was made easier by what they learned about SMCS. "We loved the combination of high academic standards, the focus and support on how to learn and succeed in Grades 7 and 8, and the wide variety of athletic and club activities available outside of class hours."
Thomas and Evan are among 105 new Grade 7 students in the 2018-2019 academic year. There are also about 110 new Grade 9 students, and 20 new students in Grades 10 to 12. The 2018 SMCS Open Houses take place on Thursday October 18 and Tuesday October 23. The Shadow a St. Michael's Man Days are scheduled for October 29, November 13 and November 28, 2018.