Mary-Mac Gramiak - Collegiate class of 2014, currently enrolled at Carleton University. Second year Global Politics major with a Spanish minor (B.A. Honours, 2018).
Initially what drew me to The Collegiate was the independent learning environment. After attending the Open House and tour in February I realized it was exactly the respectful atmosphere I was looking for to finish up my last two years of high school.
The best part of my experience at The Collegiate was definitely the level of respect and support I received. Throughout my time at The Collegiate I was surrounded by a network of peers who wanted to see each other succeed, and faculty who went above and beyond in order to help their students accomplish their goals. At The Collegiate the resources you need will always be available; it’s merely a matter of taking initiative to access those resources for yourself. If you are willing to put in the effort, there will always be a support system in place to help you along your journey: this was, by far, my favourite part of being at The Collegiate.
I strongly believe The Collegiate prepared me for university. In university you’re expected to take control of your own learning and your own success, and because of my time at The Collegiate I avoided many of the pitfalls my peers experienced during their first year of university. By the time I entered university I was already used to seeking out my own opportunities, and taking control of my own learning, something that is crucial for success in any post-secondary environment.
One of my best experiences at The Collegiate involved the opportunity to spend two weeks in a remote village in Costa Rica with my peers as we worked and immersed ourselves in the culture. It was there that I began to fall in love with the Spanish language, because of the time I was able to spend with my host family. The more time we spent together, the more I realized that by learning a new language you are not only able to communicate with a wider group of people, but you also grow to develop an understanding and appreciation of how languages affect cultures and understandings of the world. The opportunity to spend that time in Costa Rica encouraged me to continue to make learning Spanish a priority in my life, and for that I am very grateful.
I would tell other students who are considering coming to this school that if you like rising to a challenge, exploring your own world, and pushing your own boundaries, then The Collegiate is definitely the place for you. It is a school where inspiration and creativity runs rampant, where you are valued and respected and where you become a part of a community. If you are engaged, kind and respectful, then The Collegiate is the environment where you will be able to reach your full potential.
17 year old Wetika is graduating from The Collegiate over the summer of 2015. She says she would recommend the school to other students looking to study in a friendly, flexible atmosphere. Wetika came to Canada from Thailand as a student in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s elite Ballet Academic Program, which has selected The Collegiate as its academic partner for high school aged students of dance.
“The Collegiate is so friendly, it’s really open,” says Wetika. “You can get help really easily. And not just by coming to see the teachers themselves—they always respond to your email if you have problems.”
Wetika also found Winnipeg to be the perfect place for students working to improve their English skills. “When I moved to Canada I was expecting a pretty big culture shock, because Thailand is really different from Canada,” she says. “But it actually wasn’t that bad at all. People don’t discriminate against you if you can’t really speak the language that well. They’re really helpful with that, so it’s a nice, friendly environment to learn.”
Studious and dedicated, Wetika managed to condense her high school studies, to free herself up for other opportunities in the world of dance. She is graduating after only three years, thanks to the spring and summer courses offered at The Collegiate, and opportunities for independent study.
“I just really appreciate that I’m able to graduate a year early, so I have a head start on life,” she says. Wetika hopes to pursue a career in choreography or contemporary dance, and has been accepted to the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, in London, England.
Coming to the Collegiate was a bold decision. I had to face many people who questioned me, and there was a lot of criticism from angry friends who felt abandoned. There were days when I wondered if it would be worth it.
Then I got here and discovered that it was in every way worth it. I now can’t wait for people to ask me what is so special about the Collegiate.
There are the obvious academic perks of smaller average class sizes and seamless admission into the University of Winnipeg, but the real secret ingredient is this: students who attend the Collegiate create an air of responsibility, respect and acceptance in our halls. This school attracts people who are passionate about their own learning and understand how to respect the rights of others who want to learn.
To put it simply, our school is filled with people who love school.
Before coming to the Collegiate, I didn’t feel comfortable or safe expressing that love because people would belittle or make fun of me for it. Today those occurrences are few and far between. Much of this can be attributed to the freedom our faculty provides students: they treat us as adults, a breath of fresh air after coming from a place where I felt like I wasn’t trusted to be responsible.
Thanks to the Collegiate I am proud to say that I value my education.
What this whole experience has taught me is that you have to do things for yourself and not be concerned about how other people will react or treat you, because it is not their lives being affected. We all came here for a reason. What’s yours?