Merivale High School
|Merivale High School|
|1755 Merivale Road
Ottawa, Ontario, K2G 1E2
|School board||Ottawa Carleton District School Board|
(vice) Shannon Adams
(vice) Jon Capello
|Grades||9 to 12 (Grades 7 and 8 being added for the 2016/2017 school year).|
|Enrollment||640 (Sept. 2016)|
|Language||English and French|
|Colour(s)||Maroon and Gold|
|Feeder schools||Sir Winston Churchill Public School, Steve Maclean Public School|
|Public transit access||OC Transpo routes 86C, 111, 116, 156, 176|
Merivale High School (abbreviated as MHS, or 'Merivale' to students) is a secondary school, located at the intersection of Merivale Road and Viewmount Drive in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (former city of Nepean, Ontario). The school is known for its gifted student program, but also runs French Immersion programs and visual art, music, and co-operative education programs.
Despite being designed for over two thousand students, Merivale High School's population has fallen to an all-time low of 650 students for the 2013-14 school year. This is attributed to changing neighborhood demographics, as well as new schools in the subdivision of Barrhaven. It was announced in October 2016 that Merivale High School will be adding both grades 7 and 8 to increase student enrollment for the 2016/2017 school year.
The school's sports moniker is the Marauders, and the school's colours are maroon and gold.
On March 12, 1963, then Board Chairman John Dawson announced that plans were being prepared by architects McLean and MacPhadyen for the new $1,800,000 Merivale High School and should be handed in for tender call by April 15. Mr. Dawson stated that although the school was slated to open in 1964, it could be possible to open one of its wings for the upcoming school year should there be a shortage of space in other schools. The new high school will ultimately serve 1,400 students with 900 expected to attend in 1964. It was planned to have thirteen classrooms, nine laboratories, four shops a library, a gymnasium, combined cafeteria-auditorium and administration rooms.
The school was first built in 1964. According to aerial photos taken in these time periods and old yearbook photos, the school opened with the "A" Wing and "B" Wing (the main front building), "E" Wing and "T" wing constructed. The school then received an expansion of an added "D" Wing and "L" Wing by 1965. The buildings were completed by December and were to include the English, Geography, History, and commercial classes which were at the time held in the Gym, Cafeteria and basement. By 1968 all the current buildings were complete. In 1970 the Library, in between the two "D" and "E" wings, would be added on.
The school has witnessed many changes around its premises, such as the re-alignment of Viewmount Road (back then Borden Side Road) and the increase of commercial enterprises like Merivale Mall in the 1960s and 1970s. Construction and development slowed down in the 1980s and 1990s but in 2002 a new shopping complex was built across the street as well as a Harvey's nearby, providing students many more places to go during lunch.
Due to its location on the increasingly commercially developed Merivale strip, and its reduced importance since the completion of John McCrae Secondary School in Barrhaven, efforts had been made by the province to close the school in the late 1990s as a means of saving money. These efforts proved unsuccessful due to a large amount of community and student body support for the school. In 2005, with the closure of Laurentian High School and J. S. Woodsworth High Schools, Merivale took in the remaining students as well as remaining school equipment and staff from both schools, maintaining a strong solid student population.
In early December 2005 an electrical fire destroyed the interiors of the main office, student services and guidance departments. The damage was estimated at CA$100,000 and a temporary wall had to be constructed to facilitate reconstruction. The new office opened in 2006.
The school is currently under review by parent groups and the school board over how the school will continue running in the future, such as how the school's grade system and programs will work (either making it into a combined 7-12 hybrid system like the new Longfields-Davidson Heights school, keeping it the same, or re-routing students to a different location altogether).
Academics and arts
The school is among the top schools in Ontario for academics and Fine Arts. In 2000, a team of Merivale students won the Reach for the Top national championship; in 2003, the school was named champion on the CBC television series SmartAsk.
The school's music program is considered one of the best in the Ottawa area: the school's ensembles regularly win "gold" standings at regional MusicFest competitions, and won 5 golds when they attended the 2000 national finals at York University.
The school also competed in the 2006 national MusicFest competition with 7 ensembles, all achieving a grade of silver or higher.
Merivale is active in dramatic arts. Their musical production of "Lucky Stiff" was nominated thirteen times for the Ottawa-area Cappie awards in 2005-2006, an awards ceremony for high school productions. It took home eight awards, the most of any school that year. Recently, Merivale has won the Cappies Favourite Musical two years in a row with "The Drowsy Chaperone" (2011) and "Fame" (2012) under the direction of Cynthia Wood.
In 1999, the student newspaper, The Vanguard, won First Place (for a credit course newspaper) in the Toronto Star High School Newspaper Awards, a first for the publication. The Vanguard had previously won multiple first place awards in a similar competition held by the Ottawa Citizen.
As well, the school also holds a yearly Art Show in May/June, showcasing student artwork as well as technology and carpentry, under the direction of the Fine Arts Head of Department, Irving Osterer.
Including both varsity and club teams, the school has over thirty athletic groups sporting the Marauder name.
The Merivale High School boys football team won the City Championship in 2005, competing in the Tier 2 division.
Following a year in which the school was forced to suspend its football program, an influx of athletes from the recently closed J.S Woodsworth Secondary helped the program en route to a successful season in which the team went undefeated.
In 2008, Merivale High School placed first overall in the NCSSAA Swim Meet in early December.
In 2010–11, the Varsity Boys Hockey team won the Tier 2 city championships, coming from behind to defeat Louis Riel 2 games to 1, winning the clinching game in front of a packed home arena. The team was led by senior Stephen Byford, and rookie goaltender Caleum Tweedale.
In September 2011, the school had to cancel its football program for good.
After an athletic year off in 2012–13 due to the province-wide work to rule motion, athletics returned in 2013–14. The school holds an annual Athletic Banquet at the end of the year.
2013–14 athletics highlights
- Varsity Girls Hockey - Playoff bound.
- Varsity Girls Field Hockey - City champions, made provincial quarter finals.
- Senior Boys Basketball - Top-ranked team in Ottawa, currently 7-0.
Notable alumni and alumnae
- David Charbonneau - astronomer
- Kathleen Edwards - musician/songwriter
- Doug Frobel - former MLB player
- Vikas Kohli - producer and founder of Fatlabs
- Moe Lemay - former NHL hockey player
- Steve MacLean - astronaut (STS-115, STS-52)
- Larry O'Brien - Mayor of Ottawa (2006-2010)
- Shweta Subram - Bollywood playback singer
- Klea Scott - actress
- Alicia Brown - Olympic track and field athlete
- "Call Tender Soon For Merivale HS", The Ottawa Journal, p. 32, March 12, 1963, archived from the original on unknown date, retrieved July 30, 2014 Check date values in:
- Reach For The Top National Champions 1998-2007
- "Merivale students win trivia challenge" in The Ottawa Citizen, 2 April 2003, C3
- MusicFest Canada : 2000 Festival Results
- Patrick Langston: "A Touch of Broadway at the NAC" in The Ottawa Citizen, 13 June 2006, A1