Seema S.

Class of 2015

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What is special about St. Maurice School? What stands out in your mind?

 

As I reflect on my eight years at St. Maurice, the first thing that comes to mind is the school’s emphasis on fostering a strong community. Perhaps cliché, but St. Maurice is a family. The administration and teachers work hard to advance a compassionate environment for students from all walks of life. The small class sizes at SMS allow faculty and students to develop formative relationships, while teachers consistently challenge students to do their best work. Mr. McCaffrey was more than my debate coach and history teacher, but a central guide in helping me excel as a high school debater and ultimately in choosing a legal career. My experiences with faculty members are echoed by countless alumni who agree that teachers and administration at SMS are deeply invested in the school and its mission statement, consistently going above and beyond expectations of them. Whether it was coaching my basketball team or helping me to plan Social Justice Committee events such as a , the faculty members at St. Maurice were central in guiding me to achieve personal and academic goals. I felt comfortable talking to my teachers about everything from academic concepts to discussing circumstances in my life outside of school. Their guidance was unwavering and particularly helpful throughout my teenage years. I largely credit the values at St. Maurice as the motivation behind my desire to become a socially informed citizen and realize my potential as a student. Among other commitments, I was a member of the high school student council, a member of the Social Justice Committee, on the basketball team, and captain of the debate team. My commitment to extracurriculars at SMS continued into my undergraduate and law school career. Further, although the academic workload at St. Maurice often felt heavy, it ultimately eased my transition to university. Further, I was lucky to gain meaningful relationships with friends who are still central to my life. Five years after graduating, I still consider St. Maurice home.

 

 

How did St. Maurice School prepare you for post-secondary and life success?

 

After graduating from St. Maurice in 2015, I was accepted to Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario for my undergraduate degree. At Queen’s, I completed an honors degree in Philosophy, focusing on critical prison theory and philosophy of race. After graduating, I was accepted to the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law to pursue a Juris Doctor and am currently in my first year of law school. The academic success I have had in university is a direct consequence of the lifelong values that St. Maurice instilled in me, pushing me to work hard and dedicate myself to any cause I am a part of. St. Maurice provided me with a solid foundation to pursue my academic dreams and realize my potential.

 

My extracurricular experiences as both an undergraduate and law student are a combination of human rights advocacy, leadership on campus, and an increased interest in law and policy. My dedication to these areas stem from the commitments I invested in as a student at St. Maurice. While being an actively involved student, I maintained an academic standing in the top 3% of my faculty throughout my undergraduate degree. Managing full-time academics and a variety of extracurriculars at SMS prepared me well for a rigorous legal education. St. Maurice was critical in helping me develop a strong work ethic and study skills that continue today. Perhaps even more importantly, the moral teachings that St. Maurice embodied, such as giving back to the community and being a person for others, kept me grounded while navigating young adulthood and being away from home for university.

 

What has St. Maurice School taught you about giving back?

 

Volunteer experiences with St. Maurice School such as the Missionaries of Charity Soup Kitchen with Ms. Costanzo and at Winnipeg Harvest have led me to understand others through a lens of humility and compassion, which continues in my work today. Against the strong foundation that St. Maurice provided me, I aspire to one day provide accessible legal services to racialized communities. Reducing barriers to adequate legal representation and cultivating laws to aid society’s most vulnerable is central to my career goals as an aspiring lawyer. At present, I volunteer at the FCJ Refugee Law Clinic in Toronto, where I conduct legal research and client interviews to file Basis of Claims and Humanitarian and Compassion Grounds applications for refugees seeking asylum. I have also been selected to complete a research project in cooperation with and the.

 
 

Harshvir B.

Class of 2012

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What is special about St. Maurice School?


In the years St. Maurice has been a part of my life, one word seems apt to describe the feeling of stepping through the blue doors of the foyer – welcome. Welcome is a term of hospitality. St. Maurice School is not just a school, but a community – a society. Though this can be said about many great schools, what sets SMS apart is its size. The small size of the classrooms encouraged deeper bonds between students and teachers alike. In my time spent at SMS, the smaller class structures allowed for the specific interactions that are required between a teacher and the student – my personal experience as a student was distinctive in how my educators saw me not as another student in another class, but as an individual.

However St. Maurice School goes beyond small class size and excellent educators – it promotes openness and acceptance. Friendships forged during times spent at SMS have a way of lasting and those who are new and uncomfortable find themselves accepted and accommodated as part of a greater family.

 

How did St. Maurice School prepare you for post-secondary and life success?


While St. Maurice School does not have the quantity of options that public schools offer, it makes up in the quality of the core courses it does teach. In my time spent in university, I came to realize that SMS had not only educated me with the mind-numbing works of Shakespeare, or the excitement of observing a ball roll down a ramp in a physics lab test, but it had provided me with the necessary tools to push forth with my studies. My degree currently focuses on Anthropology, a field that requires extensive readings, analysis, and critical thinking – features that all developed during my attendance at SMS.

As a student focused on sciences, maths and literature, I found myself outpacing my peers in classes in early university. The workload at SMS had allowed me to become used to the heavy demands and the quality of work required by professors. Though I do not know what my future holds, I know full well that SMS has prepared me to overcome obstacles with the capacity to achieve to a higher standard.

 

What has St. Maurice School taught you about giving back?


As part of the Christian Service Program, St. Maurice requires all students to contribution to their community. As a result I started volunteering at Victoria General Hospital – a place where I still volunteer today after nearly six years. My current schedule is a tangle of courses and projects, volunteering at my hospital, and working as a tutor. This does not need to be the case – I can very easily quit volunteering, stop tutoring and focus solely on my degree. However – my propensity to give back and help is something I discovered as a student at St. Maurice and it remains with me to this day.

 

Kasia K.

Class of 2013

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What is special about St. Maurice School?


St. Maurice School is unique because it is made up of a diverse community of individuals who come from a variety of backgrounds. Being surrounded by individuals from various ethnic backgrounds has taught me tolerance and cultural sensitivity. Knowing practically every student at the school made me feel very welcome and included in the school community. The teachers and staff at the school know all of the students and are always willing to go above and beyond to help them succeed. The small class sizes at St. Maurice also allowed for more time to ask questions in and out of class. The teachers are also interested in the personal development of students outside of their classes. I am fortunate to still be in contact with many of my teachers several years after graduating.

 

How did St. Maurice School prepare you for post-secondary and life success?


St. Maurice School did an exceptional job in preparing me for post-secondary and life success because it helped me to develop a strong work ethic and exceptional study skills. As early as elementary school, I learned about the value and importance of doing homework every day and managing my time well. Throughout junior high and high school, I developed strong study skills, which was crucial because of the number of courses I had to balance along with extra-curricular activities. Most importantly, my teachers helped me to develop my skills by coaching me in debating, sports, and supporting my professional interests.

I am currently on track to graduate in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in political studies and criminology. My main goal is to attend law school, and my teachers at St. Maurice were always supportive of this goal. During my time at St. Maurice, I obtained a job as a Page at the Manitoba Legislative Assembly; this was a significant factor in obtaining my current position as a Legislative Assistant to two MLAs. I also work as a writing tutor at the University of Manitoba, and my aptitude for this position came from my strong writing skills that I developed at St. Maurice.

 

***Update: Kasia was accepted into the Faculty of Law in 2015.

 

What has St. Maurice School taught you about giving back?


One of the greatest lessons that I have learned throughout my time at St. Maurice School is the importance of community service. I can remember as far back as in grade 1 when we were taken to the nursing home beside the school to have show and tell with the residents.

The mandatory Christian Service requirement encouraged me to volunteer at school and in my community. I gained six years of volunteering experience at a personal care home because of this volunteer requirement. Since graduating from St. Maurice, I have joined several service-based student groups, and helped organize many fundraisers and events at the University of Manitoba and in my community.

 

Magda P.

Class of 2009

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What is special about St. Maurice School?


St. Maurice will always hold a special place in my heart. Going through high school is often an experience we take for granted. Looking back at my high school years brings a smile to my face. St. Maurice was my second home. It’s a very tight knit community and all the teachers provide a very big support network for all students. My favorite part about the school was how much love and care can fit into such a small building. Although there may not be many students and teachers compared to other high schools, St. Maurice makes you feel welcome and at home every single time you step through the front doors.

 

How did St. Maurice School prepare you for post-secondary and life success?


Currently I am studying cell, molecular and developmental biology at the University of Manitoba. It’s an intensive program that requires numerous hours of at home preparation. The St. Maurice Biology department allowed me to learn the foundations of what my current studies are built on. Through hands-on lab experience, studying and applying fundamental theories and having to prepare proper lab reports, I was well prepared for my university years.

There is a lot of independent study needed to succeed in St. Maurice as well as university. I was thankful that I was pushed in my high school years to learn which study techniques worked for me so that I was able to apply them when I went to university.

By having small class size every student is able to have the attention of the teacher. Teachers very willingly offer study hints and tricks which students find very useful. My first couple of years at university I would use my high school notes as another study tool.

 

What has St. Maurice School taught you about giving back?


In the St. Maurice mission statement it states that all efforts are made to foster a strong relationship between school, home, the church and the community. Students are taught to be respectful, kind and caring towards all individuals no matter who they are or where they come from. It is so refreshing to see such an emphasis being placed on togetherness and kindness. Through simple activities such as hamper preparations and spending a few hours at a senior’s home we were able to see people at all stages of life: we visited people in poverty and seniors in the final stages of their lives. These kinds of selfless activities motivated me to start my own Christmas hamper within my community and to donate items regularly to Siloam mission. In university I also volunteered to travel to Guatemala on a medical volunteer trip. We visited rural areas of the country and set up medical and dental clinics providing free medical care to people who would normally not have access to it. Despite the language barrier we were able to help over 400 people in a seven day span. We changed their lives and they changed ours. We left Guatemala very humbled and wanting to give back as much as we could not only internationally but locally. The following year I became one of the coordinators at the University of Manitoba for the volunteer trip and we traveled to Costa Rica.

Everything St. Maurice teaches you about caring for others is taken with you after you graduate… mission accomplished!

 

Ryan C.

Class of 2003

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What is special about St. Maurice School?


For as long as I could remember, I was never really good at math or science and did not enjoy them at all. I didn’t see any use in learning trigonometry or memorizing the periodic table and was a really tough student to teach because I didn’t care. Despite my apathy for the courses, my teachers made such an amazing effort to not only understand why I didn’t like their subject materials but they also tried to connect the need to do well in the courses to my future and what I wanted to do.

Because I wanted to go into marketing it was a really hard sell to convince me I needed to learn math and science, but they did convince me after all. I will never forget the specific conversation that shifted my thinking. My teacher told me that if I let these little things beat me now that I wouldn’t develop that PERSISTENCE muscle that I will need when I get into the world of marketing. That really struck me because they connected the need to learn now to the future I had planned out for myself.

From that point on I made sure I attended the extra sessions they made available to me. Because the class sizes weren’t too large I never had a difficult time getting one-on-one instruction from my teachers. It made learning that much more effective and they always made time for me. As a result of their extra effort I went from failing math and almost failing biology to passing both with grades that I was proud of and getting a scholarship to the University of Winnipeg. I wouldn’t have been able to get that scholarship if those grades were still as low as they were before I went for extra help.

 

How did St. Maurice School prepare you for post-secondary and life success?


I knew very early on that I wanted to go into marketing and I made that known to my teachers as well. Because they knew that I was interested in marketing, they made an effort to connect me with the right information that would help me understand what my next steps should be. They would often bring in representatives from the different colleges and universities and would ask them beforehand for information about the marketing programs they offer so they would come with pamphlets I could read and research. I really appreciated that.

After I left St. Maurice I entered myself into a joint degree/diploma program with University of Winnipeg and Red River College that had me specializing in communications, marketing, and public relations. Because of the help provided to me by my teachers I felt completely prepared for what I was getting myself into and excelled in my post-secondary education which set the stage for where I am now – managing my own service firm holding a maximum capacity of 20 clients, writing for the Globe and Mail, and sitting on international boards developing standards in the profession of marketing.

 

What has St. Maurice School taught you about giving back?


One of things I remember clearly about my time with St. Maurice was going to the soup kitchen and donating food to Winnipeg Harvest. To me those were just things we did in school and I didn’t give it much thought until I grew up. But those experiences stayed with me after all those years and reminded me that by giving just a little, it can mean a great deal to those who don’t have a lot. Now I donate in various forms to three organizations in Winnipeg – The Winnipeg Pet Rescue Shelter, Siloam Mission, and the Salvation Army.

The lessons the teachers instilled in me early on at St. Maurice absolutely helped guide me in the right direction as I got older and I’m glad they did because helping these organizations has been some of the most rewarding work in my life to date.

 

Jericho D.C.

Class of 2006

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What is special about St. Maurice School?


St. Maurice School has many special things about it which I noticed and enjoyed throughout my four years My name is Jericho De Castro. I am an Engineer, a Coach, and more importantly a St. Maurice PATRIOT. St. Maurice played an integral role in my personal development. The experiences and work habits gained at St. Maurice paved the way for success in my post-secondary education, career path, and life.

What makes St. Maurice special is its size. Its small size allows for students to flourish academically and socially. In a high school with nearly 200 students, I wasn’t just another face in the crowd. Everyone knew your name and you knew everybody’s name. The St. Maurice environment afforded us the opportunity to learn about each other’s family life, hobbies, and life ambitions. I developed real, meaningful relationships with my classmates and teachers at St. Maurice, which motivated and pushed me to succeed. Even after my school career, I still feel that St. Maurice is an extension of my family.

Its small size also allowed for unlimited school involvement opportunities. At St. Maurice I was part of the cross-country, basketball, badminton, soccer, and track and field teams. I was also actively involved with student council activities. I truly believe that I wouldn’t have been given the same opportunity to participate in so many school activities at a larger school.

 

How did St. Maurice School prepare you for post-secondary and life success?


At St. Maurice I gained work habits that turned me into the hardworking and dedicated person I am today. I was challenged by having to manage my time efficiently with extracurricular activities (both in and out of school) and the demanding school work load. Every week there would be multiple assignments, quizzes, projects, or tests due across multiple subjects. St. Maurice taught me not to procrastinate, to get things done as soon as possible and most importantly to ask for help when I needed it. All these work habits helped prepare me for the demands of university and life.

In 2006 I graduated from St. Maurice and pursued an engineering degree at the University of Manitoba. The work habits gained at St. Maurice gave me an advantage over my peers, as I had grown accustomed to working through a heavy work load. Furthermore, I retained a lot of key concepts from high school that made my first two years of University courses less difficult. I retained those key concepts because St. Maurice’s courses run-year long (September – June) rather than a five month semester. This allowed for key concepts to be continually emphasized and worked on.

I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2011. While many would believe I was solely dedicated to my university academics for those five years, I was actually able to maintain many extra-curricular activities: I was active on the Bison Track and Field Team for two seasons; I played mens’ and coed soccer year round; I was a youth Minister at St. Ignatius, and I coached basketball and soccer at St. Maurice. I also managed to complete three co-op work terms. I was able to do a lot while in University because St. Maurice taught me how to effectively manage my time and commitments.

My hard work ethic, which was recognized during my co-op work terms, turned into a job offer upon graduation. Today I have a career at Boeing Canada as a Manufacturing Engineering Specialist. I still keep myself busy playing soccer year round and coaching both the basketball and soccer programs at St. Maurice. I still maintain a lot of the relationships with my classmates, teachers, and students at St. Maurice. It is easy to see the lasting impact St. Maurice has on its students through the successes of its graduates. Some of my classmates are now, or are in the process of becoming, nurses, optometrists, doctors, teachers and lawyers.

 

What has St. Maurice School taught you about giving back?


Community service is an integral part of St. Maurice. Each grade 7-12 student is required to do a minimum number of community service hours as part of their religion course program. Much of the volunteer work I did involved work at St. Ignatius Parish, where I was a Sunday School Confirmation teacher. It was because of this experience that I learned to be a leader and a role model. One of my responsibilities was preparing and teaching confirmation classes while connecting with the catechumens.

St. Ignatius Parish recognized my leadership skills, which resulted in a two year term as Youth Minister there that further developed my leadership skills. In addition, I have been coaching basketball and soccer at St. Maurice for eight years.

During my time as an athlete at St. Maurice, we did not have one dedicated coach. I always felt that we had the talent and potential to be successful in sports, but need a committed coach. Thus, the decision to come back to St. Maurice and coach was easy.

Since I came back as a coach we’ve been able to win multiple tournament hardware, banners, and championships. I find the most rewarding aspect of coaching is helping others achieve success, connecting with students/players, helping them develop, and teaching them that hard work, practice, and patience pays off.

My parents placed me in St. Maurice because they believed it would foster the skills and work ethics required to be successful in life, while instilling values & morals. While at first I did not fully support the idea of going to a small private Catholic high school, today I am appreciative and grateful for the person St. Maurice made me become and the successes I was able to obtain.

 

Irving C.

Class of 2013

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What is special about St. Maurice School?


Smaller class size! While attending St. Maurice the small class sizes allowed me to interact with my teachers more thoroughly in and outside the classrooms. However, what truly makes St. Maurice School most unique is how much each and every faculty member cares about their students. Throughout my time at St. Maurice there were countless instances where faculty members helped me deal with various problems whether they were personal or academic. They were always very supportive and I always felt as though I could go to them with questions about difficult concepts in school, or even some advice on how to improve my jump shot.

 

How did St. Maurice School prepare you for post-secondary and life success?


After graduating from St. Maurice in 2013, I was accepted into the Civil Engineering Program at the University of British Columbia where I am currently enrolled in the UBC Engineering Co-op program. Getting accepted was very difficult, but St. Maurice prepared me in a variety of ways. They helped me research universities, send my applications, keep track of deadlines and send out all the necessary paperwork. However, what sticks out in my mind was how they helped me write the essays I needed to send out as a part of my application. English has always been my weakest subject, but the teachers at St. Maurice helped me edit and revise all my entrance essays. They helped me write the essays to the best of my abilities which helped me present myself in the best way I could to all the universities.

Upon arriving at UBC it was time to expand on the knowledge I gained in high school. This was the easy part of adjusting to university, the difficult part was adjusting to the workload – typical for most high school students. I felt as though this is where St. Maurice prepared me the best. The workload at St. Maurice is definitely heavier than most high schools! At the time I wasn’t very enthusiastic about all the work, but looking back I am grateful for it because it eased me into the even heavier workload I am now experiencing in university. Without this preparation, I would not have been able to do as well as I did in my first year and get accepted into co-op program as early as I did.

 

What has St. Maurice School taught you about giving back?


Apart from the academic advantages St. Maurice provided me, the school also taught me about giving back to the community. Everybody gives back in different ways, and St. Maurice helped me realize that the best way I could give back was through athletics.

I have played basketball, volleyball, soccer and badminton for St. Maurice throughout high school as well as provincial football for Manitoba from grades 9-12. St. Maurice taught me to give back to the community through coaching. I was provided with the opportunity to be the assistant coach of the girls’ soccer team in grade 11 and 12. After graduating, I used this experience to begin coaching football for my former teams during the summer. As an athlete, I understand coaches can help kids fulfill their full potential on and off the field by teaching them discipline and balance, just as my St. Maurice coaches taught me: the discipline to put in sufficient work to develop one’s skills and the balance to succeed athletically and academically. It is an extremely rewarding process to see how players develop and it is something I plan to continue to do every summer.