At the end of the school day every Thursday, more than 95 per cent of St. Andrew’s Upper School students stick around to develop new interests and pursue their passions.
The Arts/Co-Curricular Plus (ACPlus) program has been a success since it was introduced in fall 2018. The elective program offers a variety of activities allowing Upper School students to study music, learn to cook, and develop skills in areas such as debating, robotics, and public speaking. It allows students the time to explore a variety of focus areas outside of the academic and athletic program and provides experiential learning opportunities and the integration of the arts into the weekly life of St. Andrew’s.
The overwhelming interest in this elective program proves students are eager to learn, even when class is not in session. When introduced, it was expected 60 boys might be interested in the first session. Instead, 355 boys signed up, and the program continues to grow every year.
This year, the Term 1 and 2 ACPlus sessions were comprised of more than 30 activities each, with well over 400 boys signed up for each session, representing approximately 95 per cent of the Upper School population. Options included sewing, rock band, drumming, bagpiping, animation, Model UN, video production, pizza making, paddle carving, Andrean Investors, film appreciation, and Art of Chess.
At the end of each term, participants host a showcase in Staunton Gallery to highlight the skills they have learned and inspire peers to join their activity for the next term. In late February, a few hundred boys lined up to taste-test some homemade tiramisu while tapping along to selections from the Guitar Club, Ukulele Club, and an a cappella performance on the Gallery steps. Students perused displays of origami, knitting, ceramics, robotics, and rocketry. Cross-stitch, music production, theatre tech, and magic instruction will be added to the roster in the third term.
As a boarding school, the day doesn’t end when the last class lets out. ACPlus is built into the school schedule and was born out of the school’s Strategic Plan 2017-2022. The restructuring allowed for a more formal block of time to devote to co-curriculars, allowing students to explore new interests, develop their passions, and broaden their experiences. Students may choose up to two different activities each term
Additionally, more than 30 staff members are engaged with the program and oversee the various activities.