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Where is Grand River Collegiate Institute Located?
The subject of today’s article is Grand River Collegiate Institute, another of Kitchener-Waterloo’s public secondary schools. So let’s follow the twists and turns of the river, and turn East toward GRCI.
Grand River Collegiate Institute (also known as GRCI or Grand River) stands upon Indian Road in Kitchener, not too far from the mighty Grand River (a river that, most who’ve seen it would agree, lives up to its suitably grandiose name). Unlike some of the WRDSB secondary schools, GRCI is on a quieter, suburban street. It is located in the vibrant Stanley Park region of Kitchener, which boasts access to beautiful trails along Grand River and through the Stanley Park Conservation Area, shopping at the Stanley Park Mall, and activities at the Stanley Park Community Centre.
Grand River Collegiate School Spirit
GRCI’s school colours are Gold, Blue and White (sharing colours with, among others, the flags of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Uruguay, and the Azores, for those interested in vexillology). Their team name is the Renegades (sometimes shortened to the ‘Rens’, but not the Kylo Rens), and their mascot is ‘Bandit.’ Their motto, “GRCI,” while certainly easy enough to remember, probably isn’t winning any prizes for creativity.
Grand River Collegiate Magnet Programs
You can’t talk about a WRDSB secondary school without discussing their System Designated Specialized Programs. To reiterate, these are specialized programs offered at specific schools, for which students are eligible to transfer from their home-school. GRCI has three: Extended French, Fast Forward, and Strings.
Grand River Collegiate Extended French Program
A major selling point for Grand River Collegiate is their Extended French program (Extended French has seven credits in French, versus ten in French Immersion). Being proficient in more than one language is a major asset going forward in life, and GRCI provides students interested in pursuing fluency in French with the opportunity to hone their reading, writing and spoken French. Being conversant in French is particularly important in Canada, and it opens up job opportunities in areas such as the government, and it is also quite useful internationally – you’ll find French-speaking nations all across the world, and by going through the Extended French program at Grand River Collegiate, you can confidently order croissants at any one of them (or all of them, if you’re a big fan of croissants and international travel).
Grand River Collegiate Fast Forward Program
Grand River is one of five schools in WRDSB to offer the Fast Forward Program. This program was developed for students who have struggled with literacy and/or numeracy throughout school, “who [are] academically 2-4 years out of phase, [have] had significant accommodations or modifications made to their elementary school program, and [have] an Individual Education Plan (IEP)” (WRDSB). Fast Forward is a diploma-granting program (OSSD), and it prepares students for the workplace with specialized preparatory education. GRCI’s Fast Forward focuses on the following sectors: Construction Technology, Hospitality & Tourism, and Transportation Technology.
Is your child a virtuoso violinist? This generation’s incarnation of Niccolò Paganini, the most celebrated of nineteenth-century Italian violinists? Well, look no further than Grand River – their Strings program has got you covered. GRCI accepts students who pass an audition, and can demonstrate their ability to play at a RCM Conservatory grade 2 level (or if they’ve played in a community string ensemble). Students will receive advanced instruction on the violin, viola, cello and bass.
Grand River Collegiate Specialist High Skills Major
The Ontario Ministry of Education has a new initiative that aims to allow students to develop a strong base of knowledge and expertise in a specific field. Grand River offers two Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) programs: Transportation, and Information and Communications Technology. Students interested in careers later in life that involve either of these sectors would do well to investigate GRCI, and the SHSM programs offered there, as they will have the ability to receive career-related certificates, and partake in co-op opportunities.
Grand River Collegiate Academics
Grand River Collegiate Institute has a solid academic reputation; according to the Fraser Institute ratings (which rates schools based on numeracy and literacy, accounting for gender gap and uncompleted tests), GRCI was the top-performing public secondary school in Kitchener in 2013 and 2015. It consistently performs above or around the overall average of Kitchener schools.
Grand River Collegiate Athletics
GRCI has a variety of sports available for students – both competitive, team-based ones, and ones geared more towards fun. Options include the basics, like basketball, football, and soccer, as well as more exotic opportunities like skiing (both Alpine and Nordic), Badminton, and curling.
Grand River Collegiate Activities and Clubs
There are a good number of activities and clubs in which students can immerse themselves at GRCI. A few interesting ones are FED Prov (Federal-Provincial Simulation), in which students from 16 secondary schools roleplay as Canada’s government, and participate in debates and discussion; the Game Developers Club, in which students design computer games using a variety of software; and Me to We, in which students strive to make a difference in their communities and the lives of others, through charitable events and fundraisers. There is also a Ukulele club, in which students can learn the noble art of ukulele-playing, and for the rest of their lives, they will be able to say ‘Yes’ when they’re asked if they can play the ukulele.
For an inside look at how GRCI represents itself online, check out their Twitter: Grand River SAC. They have GIFs!
Looking for how to register? Click the link here for all the info you need: WRDSB School Registration Required Documentation.
Grand River Collegiate Institute is a good school, in a good location, with many opportunities for its students. Being attached to the Grand River Stanley Park Library, part of the Kitchener Public Library network, means students have a wealth of written and recorded knowledge at their doorstep, and additionally, all the social opportunities granted by a library. Students currently zoned for GRCI, moving to the region, or looking to take advantage of one of the specialized programs there, would have much to look forward to in becoming Grand River Renegades.
Written by Will Kummer