A Letter to SMCDSB
Posted on 05/03/2018
graduateWritten by Sofia Stocco, Student Journalist

A Letter from Graduating Students at St. Joseph's Catholic High School

Dear SMCDSB Community,

For Grade 12 students, the final months of the school year occurs in a very systematic pattern; spring, summer, university/college acceptances. With the arrival of May comes the deadline for choosing what university or college students will decide to attend for the next three to four years, minimum, of their lives. Early acceptances began to arrive as early as January for some programs, and now Grade 12 students everywhere have had time to consider their options and click that accept button any time before June 1st. The offer we accept isn’t just where we’ll go to class, it’s the place that we’ll call home, meet friends, and find ourselves, so naturally we have many things to consider and different strategies to help us choose what’s best for who we are now and who we want to be in the future.

The next school year is the first time a cohort born in the 2000’s tackles university/college, and before we make a decision on where we’ll go, there’s some qualities and traits we want in a school.

Most of us are searching for a university or college with a reputable program and faculty, safe location, comfortable environment, thriving community life, plenty of school spirit and extracurricular activities, good connections within the community, and a school that has that certain quality that makes it feel like we’ve come home instead of left it. For some Grade 12's, this means a concentrated campus easy for walking while others crave the heart of the city. The people dictate the atmosphere, and many St. Joe's’ Grade 12's want a school with down-to-earth, friendly, welcoming faculty and students. Soon to be kinesiology major, Claudia H., explains “the most important trait in a school is how comfortable I feel on campus, in residence, and in the classrooms.” Another huge focus is what the university/college offers that interests us, and how the possibilities of careers relates to our end goals while still maintaining an atmosphere that favors a fun and memorable undergrad experience.

Incorporating what will make us happy in and out of classes with our future life goals is a difficult balance that has many of us reaching out for advice from others. Parents who were our first teachers, family who has toured schools with us and best friends disguised as siblings have all been very helpful guiding our choice and providing insight, but ultimately the choice that is the first step to our adult lives is one we not only want to, but have to make on our own with all the support from our families, community and school we can get!

Sam R., soon to be a PPE (philosophy, political science and economics) major, says “My older brother, who is in university, is a major influence on my university decision since he has talked with many students from different schools. My father also impacts my decision since he attended university and keeps up to date with the rankings of schools.”

St. Joseph's has been especially helpful in the early stages of our decision, with teachers being great mentors and listeners, and the Guidance department arranging visits from university and college representatives for presentations and information sessions. SJO has been a bustle of pamphlets, guide books and scholarship details, for which we’re very thankful for.

The majority of graduating Jaguars have already either chosen a school or have narrowed it down to the final choices, and this creates feelings of both excitement and nerves! Our top reasons for excitement include starting a new experience and chapter of our lives, focusing on the subject that we’re most interested and passionate about, learning to be independent, and meeting new people. Heidi A., future biomedical engineer, sums it up perfectly; “I am excited for university to test my limits in terms of my mind and body and see myself develop as a person!”

With such a big choice comes nerves for our undergrads as well. A much larger, unfamiliar school, creating a new support system, living away from home, potentially changing our minds and programs, the challenge of time management, leaving behind old friends and making new ones, and the dreaded horror of cooking and laundry are all very nerve-wracking to this group of future scholars!

Despite our nerves - and the stress! - of making this huge choice, we know our family and St. Joseph’s Catholic community has created a wonderful place for us to plant our roots as we move on and embark on the beginning of our lives on our own. University or college is not only a chance for us to learn, but to challenge ourselves and then our society in return. Your current children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, your current Jaguars, are choosing the first step on our way to creating our lives and ourselves to become the world-changers of tomorrow. Thank you for all of the support, we know we’ll make the right choice.

See you in our tomorrow,

Grade 12 Students from St. Joseph’s Catholic High School, Barrie