St. Thomas Ontario is known for its beautiful scenery, lovely parks, and ample outdoor recreational activities, but for families moving to the area its schools are a key concern.
Fortunately, there are four different local high schools, and each of them has something special to offer residents of the area. If you’re bringing your children to the St. Thomas area you’ll have to choose from the four different schools to make sure that your child gets the best education possible.
That’s why we’ve put together an overview of each of the schools, and we highlight the differences of each one to help you make the best possible decision when it comes time to enroll your child.
Before comparing the schools, here’s an overview to give you an idea of what each of the different high schools is really about. Read through each of them to get more comfortable with what’s offered in the St. Thomas area.
Arthur Voaden Secondary School
Arthur Voaden is a trade-heavy high school and is mostly dedicated to students that want to become proficient in a trade before graduating.
The school offers access to a full automotive department, a food-services facility and a manufacturing facility to train students at. By coming to this high school students can become proficient at working in any of those sectors and improve their chances of being hired for those specific trades.
Arthur Voaden is also known for having a solid set of art programmes, and the school works closely with outside companies to help train students for work after school is complete.
St. Joseph’s Catholic High School
St. Joseph’s Catholic High School is a widely-known school throughout the St. Thomas area. It accepts about 900 students each year and maintains a uniform policy that is designed to help foster equality between the students.
The school offers excellent sports teams, including football and hockey as well as many other programs. One standout feature of this high school is all its specialised programmes that are designed to teach special skills besides for the core subjects that need to be learned during high school.
Students have a chance to learn more about health and wellness, agriculture, hospitality or arts and culture depending on the program that they choose.
Central Elgin Collegiate Institute
Central Elgin is one of the most academically focused public high schools throughout the St. Thomas area.
The school maintains a population of about 750 students and is known for having high quality academic programs, music programs, and sport offerings.
The school features a special Enrichment program for advanced students that want to be challenged even more in academic subjects. It’s also known for having a powerful math team, and strong athletic programs including stand out men’s basketball and volleyball teams, as well as tennis and women’s soccer.
Parkside Collegiate Institute
Parkside Collegiate Institute is the largest of all the high schools in St. Thomas and is the most diverse of the four schools.
This highs school offers solid academic programs, good music and art programs and a huge list of supported sports teams. Parkside is known for having top quality facilities and is one of the few schools in the area that offer French immersion programs to help students get ready for French-speaking jobs in parts of Canada such as Quebec.
Parkside is a rich academic experience for everyone that attends the school, and it’s designed to appeal to everyone in one way or another.
Finding the Right School for Your Child
Each of the different high schools has something special to offer, and they all help to make up a diverse and beneficial set of academic programs, but it’s up to you to figure out where your child should attend. That’s why we’re taking the time to help differentiate the schools from one another, and highlight what the main purpose is of each of the different schools.
If you have a child that’s more concerned with taking up a trade, or that you believe would excel in a trade rather than going on to something like post-secondary school, there are high-schools that are best for them.
Arthur Voaden is the most trade-focused of all the high schools and will give a trade-focused child the best opportunities after graduation. If Arthur Voaden isn’t an option St. Joseph’s is the next best option thanks to its specialised learning programs that it offers.
If your child is academically focused above all else, the two standout schools for them to attend in the St. Thomas area are Central Elgin Collegiate Institute and Parkside Collegiate Institute.
Central Elgin has a very strong advanced study program for the academically gifted, and the school does an excellent job preparing students to attend post-secondary schools. Parkside is another quality school for students that want to put serious emphasis on their academics.
It doesn’t offer as many courses specifically tailored to the academically gifted, but the school does offer an excellent course selection, a solid French immersion program, and lots of extracurricular opportunities that make it worth attending if academics are the most important.
Athletic children that want a chance to excel in different sports have a lot of different options to work with in the St. Thomas area. Arthur Voaden is known for offering an excellent football program and has a former CFL player as its coach.
St. Thomas has an excellent hockey team as well as a comprehensive training program for hockey players and is an excellent school to attend if you want to improve at the game. Central Elgin has excellent men’s basketball, volleyball and wrestling teams.
It’s known for having skilled men’s and women’s tennis teams, and has a powerful women’s soccer team as well. Parkside has the best blend of sport’s teams overall, and offers children the biggest pool of options to choose from, which makes them perfect for the athlete that hasn’t specialised at anything yet.
Music or Art Focused Children
Arthur Voaden, Central Elgin and Parkside all offer solid music and art programmes. Children that want to focus on these areas should use what each of those schools offers besides their music and art programs to help them decide where to go. If your child wants to focus on art, music and trades, Arthur Voaden is the place to attend.
If they want to focus on academics as well as art and music, Central Elgin is the best location. If your student wants the most diverse extracurricular activity options, while getting a well-rounded experience with solid art and music programs, Parkside is the best option worth considering.
Between the four different high schools in St. Thomas there are a lot of options and perks to consider. If you’re planning on moving to St. Thomas, make sure you go through all these considerations with your child to help them pick out the best school for their specific needs.
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Call or Text Team Forster 519-851-2844 for more information about living in St. Thomas, Ontario!