Opportunities to develop, strengthen, and grow leadership skills are aplenty at St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) --- whether in the classroom, at events inside and outside of school, on-stage, across the field of play or elsewhere.
The Student Ambassador Programme, an initiative of the SMCS Admissions Department, is open to all students from Grades 7 to 12.
Whether serving as volunteer hosts, tour guides, navigators, or in another capacity, these students are also mentors for their peers.
Case and point, Aidan Bischoff and Joseph Cressatti, both Grade 12 students, who have served as ambassadors for a variety of events, including Open Houses and Shadow a St. Michael’s Student Experiences or 'Shadow Days', among others. SMCS will host a total of six Shadow Days in the 2019-20 academic year.
“Aidan and Joseph have been outstanding for the programme, as they put together a training programme and facilitated it early on in the school year, with some guidance through our department,” says Chris De Piero ’87, Associate Director of Admissions, referring to the Ambassador Programme. “The main aspect of being an ambassador for these young men, is that they are so keen and eager to represent the school in a very positive way.”
Both students offer their thoughts on what inspired them to serve as ambassadors and what is entailed in their role, specifically relating to Shadow Days:
1. Why is it important for you to be involved in training ambassadors for their role on Shadow Days?
“Being involved in the Ambassador Programme has been important to me because it has given me the opportunity to give back to St. Michael’s. I, along with other senior leaders, felt it was important to head this programme for the future generations of St. Michael’s students.Ensuring that our own ambassadors receive the proper amount of training allows us to truly welcome prospective students into the strong community we are a part of.”
“During my time at St. Michael’s, I’ve had several mentors who have shaped the leader I am today. The Ambassador Programme has allowed me to pay this forward and mentor an entire generation of future school leaders.”
2. Can you provide examples of what is involved in this (ambassador) training?
“Each student ambassador is required to attend at least one after-school training session highlighting all of the key details they would need for upcoming events. The training session also provided students with a platform to share their own personal experiences about what it is like to be a St. Michael’s student. The most important message we try to deliver is that being your true authentic self and being open to sharing your own experiences is how our student ambassadors can be best prepared for Shadow Days.”
“Sessions usually consist of myself and Aidan running seminars about effective communication and interesting information about the school. Afterwards, we open the floor for questions and let students practice their newly-acquired skills in a friendly environment.”
3. What has impacted you most watching prospective students and their hosts (student ambassadors) interact on Shadow Days?
“It is always great to see the strong bonds and relationships that are immediately formed between prospective students and our hosts. When students decide to attend St. Michael’s, they will already have at least one friendship with a current student before even walking the halls. Some of our students who attended Shadow Days as prospective students in the past, are now a part of the Ambassador Programme because they want to give back and help welcome new students. Seeing students want to give back to our community and host prospective students is something very special and should be greatly valued in our school.”
“Watching hosts connect with their ‘shadows’ in some ways make me feel nostalgic and proud. When I came to St. Michael’s, I was fortunate enough to have an excellent school tour. It was professional, yet personal and really proved to me that this was the school I wanted to attend. Knowing that I have helped provide the same experience to future students is extremely rewarding and I am proud of the work the programme has accomplished.”
4. Anything else you’d like to add?
“This programme has given our students an opportunity to share their own experiences with the outside community, while also stepping out of their comfort zone. Many people do not feel comfortable talking to parents or other people they don’t know. This programme has given students the opportunity to become positive role models for everyone inside and outside our school community.”
“As much as I’ve had an impact on the Ambassador Programme, the programme has had an even greater impact on me. While student leaders like myself have taken active roles in this group, we did not do it alone. School administrators have been invaluable in counselling us along the way. With their help, I’ve learned important lessons about leadership that I plan on using in all my future endeavours.”
More than 215 students are currently part of the Student Ambassador Programme at St. Michael’s College School, spanning Grades 7 to 12.
Learn more about:
Ambassador and Mentorship Programmes
Shadow a St. Michael’s Student Experience (Shadow Days)