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About Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute
Welcome to another exciting edition of the WRX Property Group WRDSB school profile extravaganza, which is sure to be filled with useful information, plenty of acronyms, and maybe a laugh or two (or three, if you’re feeling festive). Today we’re going to investigate Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute, Kitchener-Waterloo’s largest public secondary school.
Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute (CHCI for short – pronounced ‘Chee-chee’ when said aloud [not really] – or just ‘Cameron,’ like the famous actress, Cameron Diaz) is located right by Downtown Kitchener. Students predisposed towards window-shopping and the energy of Kitchener’s core will be well-served by CHCI’s proximity to downtown. It’s a short walk from the Charles Street Transit Terminal, so transportation to and from the school is very convenient, as well.
Check out a map of Cameron Heights’ approximate boundaries to get a sense of where it is, and what communities it serves. Click here to see the map.
Built in 1967, Cameron Heights was once one of the largest secondary schools in Ontario. And having been constructed 100 years after Canadian Confederation, some – though not many – might say it’s the best thing to have happened since. Its doors opened to students in 1969, and it has been a fixture of downtown Kitchener ever since.
Cameron Heights C.I.’s colours are gold, green and red. These colours, along with their name and mascot, derive from the proud Clan Cameron of the Scottish Highlands. Clan Cameron’s ancestral lands include Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the British Isles, which stands at a remarkable 15% of Mount Everest’s height. Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute’s team name is the Golden Gaels, and their mascot is a feisty, red-bearded man named Scotty. Their motto is “Together as One.”
Cameron Heights and International Baccalaureate
One of the key draws to CHCI is their participation in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. This is a challenging yet rewarding diploma program, which is recognized by universities internationally and sets students on a path toward academic and personal success. The IB program is Cameron’s System Designated Specialized Program (also referred to as Magnet Program). What this means is that students living outside Cameron’s boundaries are eligible to transfer in order to pursue an IB diploma. CHCI and Glenview Park Secondary School in Cambridge are the only public high schools in WRDSB to offer the IB program.
Partially as a result of CHCI’s IB program, Cameron has a distinctly diverse student body. Parents looking for a culturally diverse school should strongly consider Cameron Heights. Among Cameron Heights’ core values and guiding principles are compassion and mutual understanding. These values are embodied by their emphasis on a CultureSmart classroom (aiming not just to be aware of other cultures, but to actively learn from them) and school environment, and their International Studies Program. Students at CHCI can expect to have their horizons broadened, and to be exposed to a spectrum of perspectives. The opportunity to learn about different traditions and cultures is one of the main reasons Cameron Heights is worth considering for your children’s (or your) education.
Cameron Heights Athletics
Cameron Heights has achieved many athletic successes over the years, and as such, students interested in sports and physical activity would have plenty of opportunities here. The school’s facilities include a pool; baseball, soccer and football fields; tennis courts; and a gymnasium, among others. So whether you enjoy participating in sports, or just watching them, CHCI is a great place to be. Cheer along with, or be cheered on by, Scotty the Golden Gael – it’s an experience worth having.
Cameron Heights Student Clubs
CHCI has a wide variety of clubs – enough that students with various interests can easily find new friends, new hobbies, or both. The following is just a small sample of the clubs available: Bollywood Dance Club; CHCI Debate Team; DECA Team (students participate in business role-playing scenarios); Gender Sexuality Awareness Club; Muslim Student Association; and Smash Brothers Club. Believe me when I say this is just a small assortment – view the whole list (as of 2017) here: Cameron Heights Clubs.
Cameron Heights offers Music courses for students, in addition to a variety of extracurricular musical opportunities (both instrumental and vocal). But even more interestingly – and uniquely – Cameron Heights has their own radio station (88.5 Gael FM). It is one of just two secondary schools in Ontario that has its own station.
Cameron Heights Academic Standing
In 2012 and 2014, the Fraser Institute rated Cameron Heights the top school academically in Kitchener. This rating takes into account scores in literacy (OSSLT) and numeracy (EQAO), as well as gender gap, tests below standard, and number of tests not written.
Chromebook 1:1 Initiative
Starting last year (2016), students across the Waterloo Region District School Board will be able to take advantage of the Chromebook 1:1 initiative. Every student entering a WRDSB school in grade nine will receive a Chromebook to use over the course of their high school career. One of the motivations behind this initiative is enabling students to “Address the C’s (communicate, collaborate, create, citizenship, critical thinking, character education)” (CHCI Chromebook Letter September 2017). Legend has it that if you take enough selfies with Scotty the Golden Gael in the background, you will win a pot of gold and a lifetime supply of haggis, but there is no clear indication whether or not this is true.
Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute is a big school in a busy place. With the size of its student body come opportunities in numerous clubs, teams, and extracurricular activities, and a very diverse mix of cultures. The International Baccalaureate and the International Studies programs are high-quality offerings, which you won’t find at most other WRDSB secondary schools. If Cameron Heights sounds like the place for you, or your kids, go ahead and embrace your inner Golden Gael, wear a kilt if you so choose, and proudly let fly a tartan of gold, green and red.
Written by Will Kummer