20 years of faith, virtue passed on at Northmount

By 
  • August 26, 2010
Northmount Catholic School for BoysTORONTO - At Northmount Catholic School for Boys, a replica of a medieval knight’s metallic armour stands in the hallway as students process into class.

The days of chivalry and valour may seem like lessons for young men from a bygone era. But at Toronto’s Northmount, teachers are aiming to form tomorrow’s leaders as young men of faith and virtue.

Principal Carmen Mombourquette said the school’s mission is to provide a well-rounded education based upon Catholic teachings and values.


“Our mission is to take young boys and work in co-operation with their families so they grow up to be young men of virtue,” said Mombourquette.

Northmount, with classes from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8, was founded in 1990 by a group of parents who sought a school for their sons where they could achieve academic excellence through the development of the whole person. Its philosophy is that the education of children is primarily the responsibility of parents.

Recent studies have raised concerns that boys are lagging behind girls in school. According to the 2009-2010 provincially administered EQAO test results, of the 16 per cent of Grade 10 students who failed, almost two-thirds of them were boys.   

Yet at Northmount, teachers have found a winning formula, with a mix of faith, academics, sports, arts, teacher mentorship and all-boys camaraderie and support, said Mombourquette.

So far, this approach has been paying off academically. According to Mombourquette, all of Northmount’s 68 students passed the EQAO tests this year, with about half of them achieving excellent scores.

The school’s 13 teachers serve as mentors for their students by running clubs, coaching and accompanying students on trips.

In his five years at Northmount, Grade 8 student Cahal McCabe says he’s learned about the discipline of study, healthy competition and how to treat others with respect.

“Religion helps you respect the other gender more,” he said. Among his friends, McCabe said, “when we are talking about girls, we don’t put them down.”

Until 1999, the private school was housed in different buildings, including the basement of a home, a church hall and a converted office.

Now in its own building, Northmount houses a music studio, art lab, gym, library, science lab, computer lab and nine classrooms, plus an Oratory which forms the spiritual heart of the school. The school also offers arts and dance classes as well as sports and religion courses. And there is Mass twice a week.

For McCabe, being at Northmount helped him improve his study habits and develop more friendships. He said he feels more comfortable being among his peers.

Students are assigned different responsibilities and leadership roles and that “prepares them for life,” he said.

“They are competitive but in a manner that young men are fair, honest and (live) up to 100 per cent of their ability,” Mombourquette said.

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