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A big first day at The YMCA Academy

06 September 2016 - by Brandon Stewart
Fall is a time of getting back to business that goes hand in hand with the return to school, and that’s no different for The YMCA Academy. This September, however, has a series of “firsts” in store for Academy staff, students, and families. Students have returned today to come back to their studies, their friends, and the familiar sense of community fostered within our school.

As soon as students began streaming into the cafeteria, anyone could have sensed it. There were happy reunions, friendly greetings, and a feeling of excitement as students exchanged stories of their summer, but underneath it all were questions about changes at the school. The returning students could tell right away that the cafeteria was much fuller than usual.

“I like that it’s bigger, says Allie, a Grade 10 student. “It feels more social. I feel like I can communicate with more people.”

New teachers introduced themselves to new students, and returning students guessed at the increase in our student population. This year the Academy is boasting its largest student list ever, at nearly 70 students. The increase in numbers has come with other changes too: our teacher roster, which has never broken a dozen, is now at 15.

With all of the additions in staff and students, another hot topic of conversation was the school’s structural transformation. The Academy is adding a new soundproof classroom with the arts in mind, as well as additional quiet study spaces for students. To build on the back-to-school buzz, a new course has been developed: The History of Science will explore some of the greatest scientific and technological achievements of humanity through a historical lens. Students and teachers are also eagerly anticipating the announcement of the school’s next exchange destination, and preparing for the start of another year of clubs and extracurricular activities.

I’m really excited for Cooking Club, says Quinn, a Grade 11 student. “And Cedar Glen — I can’t wait for that to come up, it’s a lot of fun. It connects all the students together. You get to see students you don’t get to see as much of, because they’re in other classes.”

“I’m going to try running for student council again,” says Grade 10 student James. “I didn’t win the first time, but it doesn’t mean I can’t try again.”

All in all, the school year is off to a great start. Students have begun comparing schedules to see who they will be classmates with, and the teachers have begun leading the way to classrooms. Between the increase in students, the new staff, changes to the building, new courses, and a new Youth Exchange destination, there has been as much discovering of the new, as returning to the familiar today.

“I’m really excited for everything,” says Quinn. “I think it’s pretty impressive and really cool that a small school can really grow really fast.”


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