I’ve been to several schools in my life (grades 1-4: King’s Road elementary, 5-6: Glenview elementary, 7-8: Maplehurst middle, 9-10: Aldershot secondary, 11-12+OAC: Assumption catholic). Almost all of them were public schools, but the catholic school was semi-private school (it wasn’t private, but it wasn’t a government school either). Surprisingly enough, the public high-school was even better than the private one.
Assumption was a great school; it was newish, clean, and had some more recent technology. Most importantly, as the principal said, because it was semi-private, they don’t have to take any students, so everyone has to be on their best behavior. Because of this, the staff and students were very nice and it went a long way to helping to heal the years of trauma I endured in public school and by the last year, my social-anxiety disorder had improved a lot.
While Assumption had the best people, it didn’t have the best facilities. That honor goes to the public school Aldershot. It may have been older and had terrible staff and students, but the facilities were very impressive for a public school:
- It had its own swimming pool (in its own wing). That alone puts it ahead of a lot of schools. When I was at Glenview elementary, we even went to Aldershot a few times to swim.
- Most schools have a “cafegymatorium”, but Aldershot had a dedicated auditorium which was like a movie-theater, and not those tiny new mini-theaters they have today, but the classic large ones with many rows of cushioned seats. I still remember my mother meeting my English teacher there during a parent-teacher meeting.
- There was a large gymnasium. Most school gyms have a curtain that can cut it into two smaller ones, but the one at Aldershot was so large that it could be cut into three gyms.
- A lot of schools have a shop and technology lab, but Aldershot had a whole technology wing which included a separate wood-shop, metal-shop, automotive-shop, full electronics-lab, computer-lab, and a tech-lab which duplicated some functionality by containing two separate banks of computers (Amigas for things like Deluxe Paint and Windows PCs for things like CAD and Corel Draw), an electronics lab, a full dark-room, and a video-lab with equipment like Video-Toaster. Then upstairs, there were two more computer labs, one with C64s, and another with IBMs. Remembering all of these blows my mind. 🤯 (Sadly, I only ever used the wood-shop, the big tech-lab, and the IBM lab. One of my few regrets is not getting a chance to take the electronics course in school.)
- There was a large two-story library. Two-story libraries are usually for post-secondary and private schools; you don’t see them as often in public high-schools. I spent a lot of time in the library reading, especially lunch and breaks.
- Aldershot had a big, full-function art room. Most high-schools have art rooms that provide most functions, but Aldershot’s was even more stocked with everything from all the supplies we could need (though we still had to buy some things like an art kit and bag, and stuff ¬_¬), and a large kiln.
- There were actually no less than two science labs. I don’t remember them too well, and when I think of science-class in Aldershot, I usually end up thinking of things from Maplehurst middle-school or Assumption, but I’m sure there were two science labs, one in the middle of the school, and the other out at the end of one of the school’s several wings, beneath the big statue on the outside wall (one time we had to evacuate that lab because of a release of a chemical or smoke or something and had to stand outside until it was clear).
I can’t remember much else of Aldershot’s facilities; other classes like French, English, math, geography and history were in pretty standard classrooms. I suppose the only thing that might have been outstanding about those might be the equipment (I recall using a Texas-Instruments graphing calculator once), but those kinds of classes don’t really need anything fancy. Regardless, the facilities of that public school put a lot of even private schools to shame, let alone other public schools. The staff and students may not have been great, but the school itself was amazing.