Alumni Success Stories

Kate Crawford’s Testimonial

Kate Crawford

Our daughter is smart. As a little girl her vocabulary was way ahead of other kids her own age, but she couldn’t read, her note taking was abysmal and made no sense. Despite her tremendous efforts, she was failing math because she couldn’t read the instructions and problems.

We read with her, hired a tutor, had her vision and hearing tested, and worked with her teachers. Classroom teachers and support teachers were unable to help despite Kate’s deep desire to learn.

We tried Sylvan Learning Centre.

We tried everything. We were running out of options.

Her self-confidence was dwindling away to nothing and she was traumatized by school. Teachers had no idea how to help. We felt like she was drowning. Whenever we tried to pull her out, the school system pushed her under again.

At the time she was about to start grade 5, it was like her spark was dying. She felt stupid (her words) and she was tired of working so hard to get nowhere. Mentally she was exhausted.

We were desperate, so desperate.

Two friends who are Special Education teachers told me about James Cameron School part way through her grade 4 year and I couldn’t wait to speak with them.

As parents we were a little apprehensive. We wondered if such a small school could really meet all her needs.

We met with Mrs. Storteboom, who was the principal and co-founder, and had a tour. I remember walking out the door in tears feeling tremendous relief, and harboring a firm conviction that they could teach my daughter to read. I could hardly wait for her to start.

James Cameron was our light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

We discovered that size just might make all the difference in Kate’s world. Knowledge, kindness, passion and desire to inspire overcame any doubts we had.

We enrolled Kate for grades 5-7. Her reading level was assessed at early kindergarten, yet she was in grade 5.

At James Cameron she made good friends and regained feelings of self-worth. At the end of the day she was tired from a full day of learning, but didn’t have to face hours of homework after supper, which was a tremendous relief.

Her day was spent with enthusiastic, exceptionally caring and inspired teachers, and surrounded by great kids, just like herself. No one stood out as the kid who couldn’t read or the kid who always needed extra help. She made steady progress and felt good about learning. She was happy!

The staff were passionate. They made connections with their students that we didn’t see in the public school system. Their teaching strategies and caring approach made a tremendous difference. Over time they inspired self-confidence, self-worth and a desire in Kate to be the very best she could be. Being dyslexic wasn’t going to be a crutch to lean on, but rather a challenge for her to beat and beat it she did!

When she ‘graduated’ from James Cameron in grade 7 we were again apprehensive about the transition to secondary school, to a school of 1500 students. Our worries were quickly dispelled. She was well prepared. In fact, better prepared than her counterparts who came through the public school system. Her high school worked with us to coordinate support and she never looked back.

Kate made the decision to use her dyslexia as a motivator. She wasn’t going to let it beat her. In grades 8 through 12 she achieved Honour Roll status and Top Hat (7 or more A’s), each and every term.

Kate has just completed her first year of a Bachelor of Nursing degree with a GPA of 3.25. Last year our dyslexic daughter earned an ‘A’ in Academic Writing, a colossal achievement! Yes, an ‘A’!

We truly believe that James Cameron saved our daughter’s life. She’d just about given up, but James Cameron School changed her life.

They are educational leaders! They are lifesavers! They are amazing! Absolutely!

Very sincerely,

Kris Crawford Proud Parent of a James Cameron Grad

Jeff Storteboom


Jeff Storteboom was one of the first students at James Cameron School. The son of Irene Storteboom, one of the school founders, Jeff attended James Cameron School in grades 6 and 7, and went on to successfully graduate from grade 12 in high school. Upon graduation, he infamously said “and now I can start to live!” And live he has. Jeff has followed his dreams and has built a very successful business in the flooring and construction industry.

 

The following is a letter (transcribed spelling mistakes and all from the original) Jeff wrote to his James Cameron tutor when he was in grade 8.

 

Dear Mrs. Mac (Big Mac)

 

Thank you for teaching me for the 2 1/2 years that I was there. I think that you are doing a great thing helping kids that are disabled (in a way) and I want to show my appreciation by writing this letter in the way I remember it. First when I came to the school you asked me a few questions and then you asked me to go to dr. Cline and she also inerviewed me, then I started going to your school learning vowels, concenents etc. and then I started doing regular work like math, reading and fonecs. I always remember you checking my work with a C for correct and wrong. Know you have helped me alot and do not have to come for a while and I am very greatful.

 

Love Jeff Storteboom

 

P.S. Please come to my grad nite June 24

 

Read his original hand written letter here



Makayla Zanattaz


James Cameron has been a blessing in disguise for our daughter who struggled in public and private schools. We put her into James Cameron in grade 5 and if we had known about the school we would have put her in earlier. Her capabilities have been extended from being more independent in school work to her confidence in herself. Homework used to be a real challenge for both of us but now through the miracle of James Cameron she comes home and does her work independently. The school is a very close knit community and provides a very supportive and caring environment. The teachers and staff all know the students by name and are aware of their challenges and capabilities. This school has brought us, as parents, the hopes of our daughter achieving her full potential in life. Our only wish would be that James Cameron was also a high school.

 

Rayleen and Rob Zanatta (Parents of James Camerons School student)

 

I like James Cameron because the teachers know how I learn and teach me different ways to learn. I love going to school because I like all the teachers and I have lots of friends. School is not hard like it was when I went to another school. I’m in grade 7 this year and wish I could stay here until grade 12!

 

Makayla Zanatta (James Cameron School student, grades 5 through 7)

 

Nathan Pennykid’s Testimonial

Jan  2016 Nathan's grade 174

At the end of grade 5 in the public school system, Nathan was behind his peers in all of the academic subjects, although he loved Science and excelled in Gym.  Nathan was always a hard worker, but never found much success in the classroom.  After a trying year in Grade 5, we decided to move him to James Cameron for his final two years of elementary school.  

That was the best decision we ever made.  

Nathan worked hard for the two years he was at James Cameron, and with the help he received from JCS staff, it made his transition into Grade 8 vastly easier.  He now knows how to learn effectively, which increased his potential.

Upon graduating from high school, Nathan earned the Governor’s General Bronze Medal Award. This is awarded for academic excellence to the student who achieves the highest average upon graduating from a secondary school.

In addition to the terrific successes Nathan has achieved in his life since his time at James Cameron School, he is currently in his second year at Douglas College. Through his determination and excellence in Environmental Science, he is on the Dean’s List.


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Date: 2017-02-20
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