Toronto, ON | Grades 9 - 12 | Shortlist
I really enjoyed being a student at Keystone. Overall I made lifelong memories and really good friends. I am happy that George Brown is a five minute walk, I would like to sometimes come by for a visit. I enjoyed being downtown, all the access to everything but also enjoyed staying in the school during the winter months, because there are so many things to do in the student lounge area. Classes are small and intimate. Teachers are easy to approach and are always looking to help. Even now I am not there, they are always wanting to keep in touch and also offer to help. I am glad I graduated from Keystone International School in Toronto and happy that Mr. D helped me in choosing my pathway.
I felt that the school always fostered a positive environment and they made sure that I was doing well in school. Ms. S always took time out of her day to connect to the students and make sure that they are happy. I felt that I could share my concerns and discuss the different pathways with Ms. D. I enjoyed after school chats and felt like I was treated like an adult. They are always looking for feedback to improve the student experience.
Teachers are creative and make whatever subjects they are teaching relevant to us. They are there to offer extra help before and after school and encourage us to get help, everyone below a certain grade, it is mandatory to stay. They follow you closely to make sure you succeed. Classes are small so it's easy to concentrate and also easy to feel comfortable asking questions. I really enjoyed the co-learning environment where we would be teaching certain skills to the younger grades and be responsible of their learning and they would be also rating our teaching skills. I was very happy that some of the tougher classes like calculus was a very small class where we could be working on difficult areas of the subject on a one on one basis.
They offer different academic courses such as challenge and change in society or intro to anthropology, psychology and sociology. These courses makes student understand people and societies from various aspects. Although Keystone is small, they offer all the main courses and also offer whatever people are interested as long as students have the pre-requisite courses. I enjoyed the ENG4U the most, it was tough but it helped me to improve my literature and language skills. My other favourite subject was gym, we did the leadership course where we were leading the younger grades by both preparing the class and instructing the class, teaching them how to do different sports while our teacher was supervising us. The gym teacher provided us with the structure of the activities we had to teach accordingly. I enjoyed that and also got to improve my leadership skills.
There are different overnight and day trips throughout the year such as Wonderland, Blue Mountain (skiing), Toronto Islands etc. We would always discuss different extra curricular options and vote for what we would like to do next either as the next field trip, or other competitions that we maybe interested to take part. I have won a national poem award through a competition we took part in.
Students were very helpful, for example when I first arrived (I came a little later), they were friendly and welcoming and they showed me around the school and the surrounding areas. There are students from different parts of the world, and local students from Toronto. I think it is great to have a mix of different nationalities and it makes the school multicultural, such as England, Montenegro, Germany, Serbia, Syria, Mexico, Holland, China, South Korea, Egypt, Vietnam, Pakistan, India, Albania, Turkey, Libya, Morocco, Algeria, etc. In addition, students get to learn about each other's traditions and share their knowledge and thoughts of different parts of the world. In short, it's great to have such a multicultural environment, it makes the classes more interesting as everyone has different views to contribute with.
There is a foosball table, piano, x box. playstation, library and it's just fun to hang out at the cafeteria. In gym class, we got to go outside and play different sports (beach volley at the beaches). School starts at 9 and ends at 3.35, the lunch is 45 minutes and we have breaks in the morning and afternoon. It's nice to have a place to hang out during the lunch time and also during the breaks. We can watch things, play fussball, write on the chalk columns and just get to hang out. There is a park in the back and once, we even got to throw water balloons to our teachers ( for a fundraiser ). We did scavenger hunts to get acquainted and also to get acquainted with the area of the school.
Perfect location, right by King subway station. So many places to eat and explore CN tower, Rogers center, hockey hall of fame, st Lawrence market, distillery district etc. I did enjoy that the school was at the heart of downtown, close to everything. It's a big plus also for the students who are coming by public transport. It's only a 2 minute walk to the subway.
We entered the Costi Refugee Poem Competition at the school, and I won the first price in all of Canada. There was an award ceremony at the city hall and my entire school wanted to attend to celebrate, unfortunately, city hall did no have enough place for all of us to be there but my teachers attended. We had general assemblies every Friday where we would talk about current issues, future plans for field trips etc. We also pancake breakfast on the last Friday of the month. I enjoyed spending time with my classmates outside of the class during those pancake breakfasts. We did fundraiser for sick kids, blood donations and also did a shore line clean-up. There is a great sense community. We got to do many things together as students outside of school as well as inside school.
Admissions were very thorough but that way they determined my academic level in order to ensure that I was placed in the right classes. Admission requirements depend on if you are local student or international but I think it's an easy process understand. They want to make sure that you are placed in the right class and also based on your interests and what you would like to do in the future, you can choose your courses. I was given an assessment for Math but I think international students get both for English and Math. It's good to do these assessments so that you can be placed in the right classes. I think you can only drop your courses in about the two to three weeks.