When presented with the option of changing schools for her Grade 12 year, Orycia Gaudet was initially nervous, but once she made the decision to do it she jumped right in.
Growing up in Bruderheim, Alberta, Orycia always knew about RJC. Her parents had attended as students, and her family would often drive by the school on their way to visit family in Saskatchewan. But she was having trouble at her old high school, so her parents presented her with the option of attending RJC. Orycia says that the nervousness of changing schools felt natural, “Like with trying any new thing, I felt a bit nervous, but once we made the decision that I was going I was ready to start.”
Orycia is also one of many students who live in the school dorm.
“Dorm life is a very different environment than I’ve ever experienced before,” she says “but the structure of the dorm and school day helped make the transition from my home in Alberta easier.” Having a roommate also helped. “They had already completed their first year, and that helped me as I found my place at school. [My roommate] already had an established friend-group that I could insert myself in.”
Having a lot of social activities and extracurricular opportunities was also helpful as Oryica started to feel more at home at RJC.
“I was involved in two choirs, which was a lot of fun, and a great way to get to know other people in the school. I didn’t think I liked choir until I came to school here,” she says, “This is also a very sports-focused school, but even though I’m not into sports I never felt excluded. Everyone is so friendly.”
The support from staff and peers at RJC was also different from her past school.
“I received so much emotional support during my down-days. I feel like that’s one of the real selling points of RJC,” she says, “I feel like I grew so much this past year and that helped me better understand who I am.”
As Orycia plans her life after high school, she reflects positively about having joined the RJC community and what she took away from her experience. “I started to think about the life-skills I was gaining from being at RJC and realized that I have learned to take on more personal responsibility and self-care,” she says, “When you’re not living at home you learn the balance between being social and also having me-time.”