Brooklin opens first Highschool

Brooklin’s first high school opens its doors

Students excited to learn in new facility located in their own community

BROOKLIN — Back-to-school time signals a fresh start in most student’s lives as they dive into another year of studies with new clothes, books and supplies.

But for more than 800 students of Brooklin High School, it also means familiarizing themselves with a new facility. The spacious, two-storey, 173,200-square-foot school recently opened its doors at 20 Carnwith Drive W., becoming the first secondary school in Brooklin.

“It seems like a really cool place to learn,” said Grade 11 student Thomas MacIntosh, as he leaned against the flag pole under the shade on a sweltering first day of classes Sept. 8.

“They’ve created a really good atmosphere. The inside is all modern and they’ve done a great job of furnishing it, not with just typical school stuff but with a more casual and modern look.”

Grade 9 student Mary Cassidy, 13, also said she was impressed with the design of the building and its sheer size compared to her previous school, St. Bridget Catholic School.

“We didn’t really have elevators and stairs; it was all one floor,” she said, sporting her new “Brooklin Bears school shirt.

Construction of the long-awaited facility kicked off last year after the Durham District School Board received Ontario Ministry of Education approval to build a secondary school in Brooklin to help alleviate enrolment pressure on the other Whitby high schools.

It was a welcome change for many of the students, including Sam Yacob, who’s taken a bus from his Brooklin home to Donald A. Wilson Secondary School in west Whitby for the past two years.

“We normally took the bus to school every day and then if you stayed after school, you’d have to take the late bus back home,” said Sam, 16.

“Now there’s more freedom … and you don’t have to rush to eat your breakfast to catch the bus at a certain time.”

Grade 9 students Sean Brooks, Michael Harley, and Ethan Langevin all walked to school that morning.

“It’s healthier because walking is more healthy than driving,” said Sean, 14, who previously attended Chris Hadfield Public School.

To welcome the students, orientation day included a barbecue, group photo taken at the outside bleachers, and a Selfie Scavenger Hunt.

“You had to go to certain places in the school like the library and different classrooms and take selfies there,” explained Ethan.

Michael added, “It was a fun way to get to know your school.”

The school features a modified repeat design of Donald A. Wilson, as well as Maxwell Heights Secondary School in Oshawa. It has a capacity of 1,227 and includes a triple gymnasium, running track, cafetorium, demonstration green roof, and speciality classrooms in areas such as theatre and culinary arts, transportation technology, construction technology, a dance studio and weight room.

Principal Warren Palmer said he’s looking forward to getting into a regular routine with students and utilizing some of the facility’s technological advancements.

“The community is elated to have their own high school,” he said.

“Historically, since 1972, (students have) gone down to Anderson Collegiate, Sinclair Secondary, and then Donald A. Wilson. So now, not to have to be bused down — to have a school that you can walk to — I think is a really big plus for the community.”