Neil McNeil High School

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Neil McNeil High School
Neil McNeil HS 2013.jpg
Fidelitas in Arduis
Faith in Hard Times
Address
127 Victoria Park Avenue
Birch Cliff, Scarborough, Ontario, M4E 3S2, Canada
Information
School number 502 / 734080
School board Toronto Catholic District School Board
Religious affiliation Roman Catholic
(Holy Ghost Fathers)
Superintendent Geoff Grant
Area 8
Area trustee Nancy Crawford
Ward 12
Principal Michael Wallace
Vice Principals Robert Noble
Kathleen Wong
School type Catholic High school
Grades 9-12
Language English
Team name Neil Maroons
Colours Maroon and Grey         
Established 1958
Enrollment 871 (2012-13)
Parish St. John
Specialist High Skills Major Health and Wellness
Non-Profit
(awaiting approval from the board)
Program Focus Broad-based Technology
Gifted
Advanced Placement
Student Leadership
Homepage Neil McNeil High School

Neil McNeil High School (sporadically known as Neil McNeil, Neil McNeil HS, NMHS, NM, Neil, or McNeil) is an all-boys Roman Catholic secondary school of the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, named after Neil McNeil, an archbishop for Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver from 1910 to 1912 and a Roman Catholic Archbishop of Toronto from 1912 to 1934. Neil McNeil is one of 31 high schools run by the TCDSB and one of four all-boys schools, and currently has an enrollment of 871 students.

History[edit]

Main article: Neil McNeil

In 1954, six Holy Ghost Fathers came from Ireland. Their original purpose was to get missionaries as Archbishop James Charles McGuigan wanted an all-boys school in east Toronto and the first high school in Scarborough that was founded in 1958 by the Holy Ghost Fathers. The school was named after Neil McNeil, Archbishop of Toronto from 1912 to 1934. During his entire term as Archbishop, he fought tirelessly for the extension of funding for Catholic secondary schools. He demonstrated in both words and deeds the school motto “Fidelitas in Arduis”, which translates to “Faith In Hard Times”.

From its inception, priests came out to teach. The first principal was Father Troy until his retirement in 1965. At first the school was a two story building with no gym and no cafeteria. In 1960, the third floor and gymnatorium as well as the cafeteria were added.

In 1967, the school entered an agreement with the Metropolitan Separate School Board (now the Toronto Catholic District School Board, where, by Grade 9 and 10, students would be under the publicly funded separate school system and Grades 11, 12, and 13 would continue as a private school. Since 1987, the school was fully funded by government and Neil McNeil was ceased as a private school. The school was maintained and operated fully by the MSSB although the Spiritans continue to lease the school.

Even though the last priest-principal of the school retired in 1990, the Spiritan presence is alive and well through the Spiritan Scholarship Fund established in 1995. By 1998, the fund disbursed more than $50,000 in scholarship awards for students going to university or community college.

Notre Dame is the "Sister School" of Neil McNeil Catholic Secondary School located not far from Neil McNeil. Both of these schools are regarded as among the oldest and most discriminative high schools in the TCDSB and in the city of Toronto. It is a school renowned for its elaborate and spirited school assemblies and tight knit community. Neil McNeil's patron saint is the Holy Spirit.

The Toronto Catholic District School Board acquired Neil McNeil's school facilities from the Spiritans' in 2009.[1]

Threatened closure and possible relocation[edit]

Neil McNeil was one of five schools in the Toronto Catholic District School Board (along with Cardinal Newman, Jean Vanier, Notre Dame and St. Patrick) underwent an school accommodation review in June 2009, which were part of four clusters of 17 schools under review — either have too many or too few students and could be consolidated, relocated or closed. In December, the board decided to close two schools and relocate another. [2]

The school's parent council co-chair Nicole Waldron said the group is opposed to one of the three options presented by the board for students from Neil to be relocated from Victoria Park and Kingston Road near the Scarborough Bluffs to St. Patrick (on the former Lakeview Secondary School grounds) in the Greenwood and Danforth Avenues area. He stated that “We are here tonight to say that the history of closing schools must end in this process. We are not here to close and to relocate Neil McNeil,” Waldron told a boisterous crowd of about 400 people at a public meeting on January 7 at Neil. [2] The review of the east-end schools came into light because there are too many students at Cardinal Newman, Neil McNeil, Notre Dame and Jean Vanier and too few students at St. Patrick. However, both the sites of Jean Vanier and St. Patrick are currently owned by the Toronto District School Board via the Toronto Lands Corporation (TLC) realtor arm if returned while the Newman property and land is owned by St. Augustine's Seminary. [3]

In this particular grouping, the TCDSB explored three main options:[4]

  • relocate Notre Dame students to St. Patrick
  • relocate Neil McNeil students to St. Patrick and/or relocate Notre Dame students to Neil McNeil (if so, the schools could be similar to Michael Power/St. Joseph High School in Etobicoke upon consolidation in 1982); or
  • provide a new program focus at St. Patrick.[5]

Since the issue came to light last fall, local stakeholders have passionately expressed their desire to go with the third option of investing in bettering St. Patrick. Some of the possibilities could include refocusing the school into a centre for the arts, implementing a kindergarten to Grade 12 (K-12) French immersion program or even offering year-round school for students there from K-12.

The end result was St. Patrick became the Centre for the Arts, Media, and Technology in June 2010.[6] Since then, the school board agreed with the Spiritans to make every effort possible to maintain the Neil facility for the next 50 years. That agreement is a clause in the June 2009 purchase agreement between the TCDSB and the Spiritan order.[4]

School spirit[edit]

Every Friday morning, the school song is sung, replacing the singing of O Canada on other weekdays.[citation needed]

School spirit and student life is fostered by the elected Student Council. Since the 2011-2012 academic year, Student Council has had autonomy over their affairs, reporting directly to the Principal. This has allowed Council to make quick decisions.

Towards the end of the year, the graduating class organizes a "Boxer Run" through their nearby sister school, Notre Dame.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Centennial College journalism students (2010-02-08). "High school’s future questioned | The Toronto Observer". Torontoobserver.ca. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  2. ^ a b Sheila Dabu Nonato (Catholic Register): Community fights to keep Neil McNeil at home - January 15, 2010, Retrieved Sept. 5, 2013.
  3. ^ "TLC Portfolio : As of August 31, 2012". Chrisglover.ca. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  4. ^ a b Joanna Lavoie Students, parents demand local Catholic high schools be kept open - East York Mirror, January 12, 2010. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
  5. ^ "Office of the Director of Education". Tcdsb.org. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  6. ^ Catholic Register: [Toronto St. Patrick School embraces art and media] - January 15, 2010, Retrieved Sept. 5, 2013.
  7. ^ David Bourque (2013-08-29). "Toronto Symphony Orchestra - Musician Details". Tso.ca. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  8. ^ "Welcome To". Styxworld.com. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°40′44″N 79°16′58″W / 43.6790°N 79.2827°W / 43.6790; -79.2827