Having 3 Dragons, I hear a lot about their day by virtue of listening in. The students at Dragon are really diverse in interests and backgrounds but they all seem to bond over being in an environment where learning from each other is highly valued. One of my kids says, "it's too small not to get along with everyone". The students spearhead lunches together and things like "chris cringle". All the kids know each others names. Grades mean nothing. The co chairs of the student counsel consist of a student in grade 7 and a student in grade 12.
The Dragon has a huge emphasis on community. Students are engaged in an incredible range of activities, despite the small size of the school. The students become very close, and identify as "Dragons". It is amazing to see the graduating students talk about how tight the bonds among students are. The Dragon is designed for 'gifted non-conformists'. This informs all of the activity at Dragon, both inside the classroom and beyond. Kids are allowed to experiment and to fail. They are taught to harness their boundless enthusiasm and passion in constructive ways, whether is it in the formation of a club, or in the design of an experiment. They are also taught to respect each other's differences, and to celebrate what each person brings to the formation of a unique community.
The student body was really an amazing part of my experience at Dragon. Not only where the people in my class amazing but through all of the grades students are great and are all willing to be part of a larger community.
The Dragon's kids do tend to be paler and better-off than the average child, though there are some accommodations made, and the school is distinctly more diverse than other Toronto private schools. Efforts are made to expose students with culturally diverse influences. The kids are, if my debaters are anything to go by, frighteningly intelligent, politically aware and kindly. There isn't much tolerance for malevolence and the school is fairly selective, so this is no just pride-fueled bias speaking. While they are not generally unusual, there is a tendency for them to look past the insignificant idiosyncrasies that might lead to bullying elsewhere.
The student body was a small but dedicated group. Quickly after arriving we became to have a similar relationship to that of a second family - Especially within my class. At other schools there are so many people, and people generally find a group that they fit in with... or they don't. At the Dragon Academy, while there are less students, everyone is there together and you don't need to find where you belong. Everyone tended to bring their own perspective, and both inside and outside of class we were able to share who we are and learn about others. In general students got along very well. Occasionally, there were disputes between students, but they were handled in an effective manner.
The student body seemed small, accepting, and reasonably enthusiastic. Students naturally formed groups of friends but didn't deliberately exclude others. Most students were noticeably smart and some had learning challenges but were also intelligent. There were a mixture of ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. My impression was that most students came from a comfortable or wealthier socioeconomic background but they were not pretentious or snobby. A particularly good point is that there were no severely-disrespectful or bullying students. The administration ensured that nothing egregious would happen in the student body; it ensured the student body remained a safe environment.
The students who would do best at the school are the ones that are creative and have critical thinking skills. The school is a small and close-knit community.
The student body is small, maybe even tiny, but it never felt less than all I need. I was surrounded by few peers, compared to other schools, but we had an incredible connection, even between years. Everyone was unique, quirky, and interesting. I woke up every morning excited to go see them. With each other's help, students very quickly found their interests. Many changed their mind, sometimes a lot. Everyone knew everyone. We didn't hold grudges for long, because we couldn't. We trusted each other and relied on each other. Things weren't always peachy, but that thread of trust ran through all of us. That dynamic is what first struck me when I visited in sixth grade. That's how I knew this was where I belonged.
Dragon has a very small but very diverse student body, with students with interests in all areas, ranging from mathematics to theater. The small class sizes are arguably one of the keys to Dragon's success--it allows for a much more involved and, as I have said before, close knit feeling in the community. There is lots of interaction between grades. While all of this can sometimes mean that small arguments between individuals have a larger impact on a class as a whole, it also allows them to be resolved quicker, as no one is afraid to go to a teacher for help or advice. It is not only expected but required that students learn to respect and work with each other.
The Dragon Academy is a very welcoming, tightly-knit community. The students care deeply for one another and are very accepting of who you are. I was immediately welcomed into the school by the students.