The word that springs to mind when you ask his teachers, coaches, and family to describe him is one word --- and it is unanimous: leader.
“The environment has provided him with an opportunity to develop his leadership skills and his confidence,” says Paul Geiger, describing the impact that St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) has had on his eldest son Luke. “He has had lots of opportunities to lead.”
And Luke Geiger has run with them.
From Head Leader at Orientation camps for new students, to captain of the hockey team, to an ambassador during a difficult time in the school’s history, Luke, a Grade 12 student at SMCS, has, by all accounts, risen to the occasion.
“I first met Luke in Grade 7. He was in my Religion class,” recalls Darryl Giancola, teacher at SMCS. “I have always felt that Luke is a diligent, respectful and hard-working boy. While I saw this in his academics and classroom efforts, it was best made clear to me when he played on my U14 hockey team. He is an absolute leader and role model as a hard worker. He would do whatever was asked for the team and always put in a great effort,” he says.
“There have been a number of teachers and staff members who have been influential in my time at St. Michael’s. They have been extra special in what they have done for me."
Luke Geiger, Grade 12 student
Luke has had the opportunity to discover, grow and hone his leadership skills in the classroom (Honour Roll all six years at SMCS), on the ice (hockey team), the course (golf team), the pitch (rugby team), co-curricular activities (DECA team), and away from school (Special Olympics volunteer), relying on many mentors inside SMCS and elsewhere along the way.
“I gave to Luke no more than any student, but often, it’s about how they embrace that and take and use the feedback and care we give them,” continues Giancola. “I also think that I may have helped develop some confidence in him when he was younger. Simply by providing opportunities and stretching his limits as an athlete and as a student. But...most of that is him.”
For his part, Luke says Mr. Giancola was an early influence on him. “He was the first teacher who told me I had the potential to do anything I want academically. Coming from him, it meant a lot because of the respect that he garnered from myself and other students.”
His academic and co-curricular efforts recently earned Luke an $80,000 scholarship from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, NS, where he will be going in September 2019, studying at the Gerald Schwartz School of Business.
“I gave to Luke no more than any student,
but often, it’s about how they embrace that and take
and use the feedback and care we give them.”
Darry Giancola, Luke Geiger's Grade 7 Religion Teacher
and Hockey coach
“There have been a number of teachers and staff members who have been influential in my time at St. Michael’s,” says Luke, whose younger brother Markus is in Grade 11 at SMCS. “They have been extra special in what they have done for me. I have developed relationships with many teachers who have become mentors to me. The culture of St. Michael’s fosters teamwork and student collaboration, which has allowed me to develop life-long friendships,” he says.
Family is also fixture in Luke’s life.
“One of the things that we’ve always done as a family is we have dinner together every night, It has always been so important,” says Luke’s mom, Marianna. “At dinner time we talk about everything that goes on at school, everything. The good, bad, ugly – all of it.”
Those conversations and the support of his family became particularly important two months into his Grade 12 year at SMCS. Luke was chosen to be part of the Ambassador programme during a difficult period at the school.
“What we emphasized was the importance of understanding that life is not perfect, we are not perfect human beings,” says Marianna. “The most important thing is to stick by your beliefs and values and what you know is right.”
“One of the proud moments for us was his ability to go through that process, and come out on the other side realizing that the influence that the school has had and the community, teachers, other students, --- everything that he held so dearly – was part of who he was, and he very much wanted to put that forward,” she says.
“My parents have worked extremely hard to give me a multitude of opportunities,” says Luke. “Sending me to St. Michael’s was one of the greatest opportunities they have provided me with. They are so supportive of me in all of my endeavours. Their consistent belief in me is what motivates me to be successful and put forward my best effort in everything I do. I feel by not giving everything I have would be disrespectful to them and all of the work they have done to put me in a position to be successful,” he says.
Among his most recent accolades was winning the Enzo Montemurro Award which recognizes school spirit and sportsmanship.
“Athletics have taught me a lot including the value of teamwork, collaboration, friendship, and how to manage my time,” says Luke. “I think the lesson that will be essential to my future success is one of resilience as nothing comes easy in sports. You have to work for everything you get. I believe this is applicable in many areas of life and it is something I regularly draw on. I will have to work for everything, I can’t take anything for granted. There is no replacement for hard work,” he says.
And as he gets set to enter a new chapter in his academic career, his Grade 7 Religion teacher, Mr. Giancola cannot help but be excited. “I just can’t wait to see his future. If he stays humble, caring for the world and purposefully tries to take his gifts to better the world, his character traits will be a wonderful thing to watch.”
Luke's St. Michael's College School CV:
- Honour Roll (every year since Grade 7)
- Head Leader at Camps
- Hockey Team
- Golf Team
- Rugby Team
- Cross Country team (Grade 9)
- SMCS Ambassador
- DECA Team
- Outstanding Junior Athlete (2017)
- Enzo Montemurro Award (2019)