WCI School Spirit
Today’s the day we discuss Waterloo’s third secondary school, which is actually its first (though last alphabetically): Waterloo Collegiate Institute. Waterloo Collegiate Institute (most commonly referred to as WCI) is a public high school in a fantastic, bustling Waterloo location extremely close to Wilfrid Laurier Univeristy, Conestoga College’s Waterloo Campus, and plenty of shopping and restaurants.
Situated on 300 Hazel Street, WCI serves an active, diverse, urban and suburban-mixed area within the city.
WCI’s colours are red, white and blue (the colours of countless national flags, including our neighbours to the South, and Norway, which ties in to their mascot). Their motto is Excelsior, which translates roughly to “Heading upward,” or if you prefer the definition provided by Silver Linings Playbook, it means converting negativity into fuel and finding a silver lining.
WCI’s team name is the Vikings, and their mascot is Thor. Now, this in and of itself is pretty cool, but it should be noted that the horns festooned on their mascot’s helmet are historically inaccurate – Vikings with horned helmets were a Victorian invention, not a real thing.
But let’s not hold it against them. Students keen to get a head start on learning the ins and outs of WCI can check out the 2017-18 student handbook online here.
WCI has a sterling academic reputation. Its performance academically has been consistently quite high, and according to data compiled by the Fraser Institute, it has performed better each year for the past four years. It is currently the top-ranked school in the WRDSB, according to the same data, which accounts for literacy (OSSLT), numeracy (EQAO), and gender gap/incomplete tests.
WCI’s commitment to both academic excellence and being open and accessible to a variety of students can be seen in such things as their four Magnet Programs, and their solid performance on AP exams. The Fraser Institute ranks them as the 50th out of 740 Ontario secondary schools.
WCI Specialist High Skills Major
Ontario’s Ministry of Education created the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program to offer career-focused diploma programs for students interested in a specific discipline. WCI offers the Arts & Culture SHSM program, which can be pursued at the Workplace, Apprenticeship, College, or University level, and offers bundled credits, certifications, and career-specific training.
Students interested in a career, or just interested in, the Arts could benefit from this program at WCI. Other high schools across the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) offer different SHSM programs, for those interested.
WCI System Designated Specialized (Magnet) Programs
WRDSB’s initiative to provide sector-specific instruction, or specially-designed instruction for students with exceptionalities, is known as the Magnet Program. These programs focus on one aspect of a student’s educational journey, and aim to prepare them for life, or further education, after high school.
Each high school has at least one Magnet Program; WCI has four. WCI’s Magnet Programs are English Language Learners (ELL), Extended French, Geotech, and Strings. The ELL program is perfect for students for whom English is not their mother tongue, and who wish to become conversant and literate in the language.
The Extended French program incorporates seven credits taught in French, and promotes greater fluency. The Strings program is, as you might have guessed, great for students interested in stringed-instruments. And finally, the Geotech program…
WCI Geotech Program
Unique to this school, Geotech is a fantastic opportunity for students interested in the scientific and technological aspects of Geography, and looking to enter careers in geology, engineering, the environmental sector, or many others. Students acquire general skills like data analysis, as well as specific training in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
According to the WCI site, “Geotechnology is one of the fastest-growing technology sectors today and Canada is at its forefront” (WCI). Waterloo itself provides bounteous opportunities in technological career paths, and receiving career-specific training from WCI could open a lot of doors.
WCI Advanced Placement
WCI offers both Advanced Placement (AP) and Pre-Advanced Placement courses. These are challenging yet rewarding opportunities for students looking to pursue postsecondary education. AP courses are internationally recognized, and not only prepare students for more advanced studies, but also can potentially count as university credits.
WCI offers Pre-AP and AP courses in English, French, Math, and a variety of Sciences.
The WCI Vikings (despite their ahistorical horns) are a compelling, consistent presence in Kitchener-Waterloo’s thriving athletic community. WCI has all the standard team and individual sporting options, including but not limited to: Basketball, Hockey, Soccer, Rugby, and Track and Field.
WCI teams and athletes consistently perform well in both WCSSAA and OFSAA, with numerous medals and championships won over the years, and a particularly strong girls’ basketball team in 2016.
WCI Activities, the Arts and Clubs
WCI is no slouch when it comes to extracurricular opportunities. There are a wide variety of clubs and activities open to students. Some of the options are: the Viking Charity Crew (charity is great, but like the horned-helmets, probably ahistorical; Vikings weren’t exactly famous for their generosity, though times change); Gourmet Club; Latin Classics Club; and Sears Drama Festival Club.
Students can participate in school plays, and a variety of musical groups, including Jazz, Spirit, and the Viking Band Association (presumably music to accompany raids on other WRDSB schools). There are writing opportunities (Fjord, the school newspaper, and Saga, the school yearbook, among others), and multiple special events, such as dances and film nights.
Students who come to WCI will never have an excuse to be bored.
WCI is academically excellent, and it has a lot to offer prospective students in terms of extracurricular involvement. The transition from elementary school to high school can be a daunting one, but WCI has students covered: every year they run their Viking Integration Program (VIP) that focuses on getting grade 9s acquainted and involved with the school, and excited about their future as WCI Vikings.
Great school, great opportunities, great location – what more could you want?
Written by Will Kummer