Donna-Marie Smiley and her husband Bill say knowing the staff members at King’s Christian Collegiate High School exemplify strong Christian character was an essential element to choosing the school for their Grade 9 son.
“For us, the quality of Christian character in the staff is so important because the staff are going to be the ones that the students are going to look to,” says the mother, noting students look to their teachers not just for academics but also for how they live and treat people every day.
From observing and also personally knowing some of the Oakville high school’s staff members she says they know their son is in good hands, both academically and as role models.
She says they chose King’s because they trust the staff’s values and that they will bring the curriculum back to the Christian worldview.
“In high school, of course, you know they are at that age where they are starting to make their own minds up about things, and it’s important for us that our son still be in an environment that supports godly morals and values,” she adds.
In addition to academics, she says she knows King’s aims to encourage leadership qualities and character in their students.
“As much as we want our son to excel to his potential in the academics it’s more important for us to see the character development and to parallel with us in encouraging him, teaching him Christian principles and leadership qualities,” she says.
The first time the parents interviewed with King’s she says they were “extremely impressed” with what they saw, including the way teachers interacted with students, how administration knew students by name and the courtesy of students.
“It felt like a very safe and a very bright place to be,” she tells the OACS News.
Smiley homeschooled her son until Grade 6, when due to a cancer diagnosis she had to enrol him in school. She says prior to the diagnosis she didn’t have a plan for how long she would continue homeschooling, but would look to God’s guidance.
“As usual, God’s timing was perfect even though it was under difficult circumstances,” she says, noting he initially attended Queensway Christian College and received a lot of support from the school.
It was important for the parents to be able to put their son in a school where the same values he had been taught at home were reinforced, she notes.
When Queensway Christian College closed after his Grade 7 year he attended John Knox Christian School in Oakville.
At all three of the independent Christian schools, Smiley says the staff members “have been over the top people in our lives.”
As a new family at King’s, Smiley has offered to volunteer her time helping with some of the office tasks.
“I would be very supportive of the school, they have blessed us tremendously and we want to be able to give back what we can,” she says.