St. Michael's College School

From Academic Kids

For the team in the Ontario Hockey League affiliated with this school, see Toronto St. Michael's Majors.

St. Michael's College School is a private Roman Catholic school for boys in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Founded in 1852 by the Basilian Fathers, it offers instruction in grades 7 to 12, and is the only private Roman Catholic school for boys of this age in Ontario (until the 1980s it operated in part as a publicly funded separate school under the Metropolitan Separate School Board). It originally only offered education from grades 9 to 13. With the elimination of grade 13 to bring Ontario in line with the rest of North America, SMCS quickly added the two younger grades to make up for the potential loss of enrolled students, as well as to help give them a stronger education than what they were likely to receive in the public school system during grades 7 and 8.

It is perhaps best known as a producer of hockey players, even though from 1961 to 1996 it did not participate in major junior hockey. Over 150 St. Michael's players have played in the National Hockey League, including the following members of the Hockey Hall of Fame: Bobby Bauer, Gerry Cheevers, Red Kelly, Tim Horton, Dave Keon, Ted Lindsay, Frank Mahovlich, Reg Noble, Joe Primeau. The school's top team, the St. Michael's Majors, has won the Memorial Cup four times.

In addition to numerous professional hockey players, the school has also former All-American and coach of Canada’s national basketball team Leo Rautins. Rautins was also the first Canadian to be selected in the first round of the NBA draft. Furthermore, football players OJ Santiago and Michael Labinjo, both of whom are alumni of the football program and have both played in the Super Bowl, attended St. Michael’s.

Along with its prowess in athletics, St. Michael's also pursues strict academic standards, preparing its students for university. Between 40%-50% of the students are on the honour roll. More than 80% of the students have a 75% average or above. For graduating students, over 98% go to the university of their first choice and reputedly do well.

The school has enjoyed mixed results with the arts and music. Strict discipline means that some students feel resentful towards the school for enforcement of its uniform policies. Its student newspaper, the Blue Herald, gets shut down at least once a decade for trying to assert too much independence or other criticism of school policies.

The school tends to neglect its less popular clubs, while providing excess funds to football and hockey. Its constant disregard for the arts includes a lack of funding raised for a proposed auditorium, which has been in the conceptual stage for years.

The school boasts one of the best athletic fields in the country. This project was buoyed by a $1.8 million donation by current Ottawa Senators and Toronto St. Michael's Majors owner, as well as the founder of Biovail, alumnus Eugene Melnyk. It includes a new, state-of-the-art FieldTurf football/soccer field, an electronic scoreboard, stadium lighting and an air supported structure that will cover a third of the field for winter use. The running track surrounding the field was upgraded, top coated and relined, and a new sound system was installed in the observation tower.

Alumni have played a strong role in the school's development, giving generously to allow it to expand and rebuild its facilities. Some, however, feel off-put by the school's aggressive fundraising campaigns, including a message on the bottom of every page in the alumni newsletter which asks alumni to "remember the school with a gift in [their] will."

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