Ryan Caligiuri
Class of 2003
Entrepreneur; Marketing Guru; Writer

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.

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