Leigh Kischke (Parent)

We chose Canton Country Day with the hope that our children would be blessed with the love of learning from the very start of their educational careers.  The challenging curriculum, diverse community, enrichment programs, and individual attention offered have proven worthwhile very early in the school year and exceeded our expectations.  We are continuously amazed at the overall education they are receiving every day and so thankful that the children have found an inspiring community to which they feel they belong, to which they can contribute, and always feel accepted by.  We couldn’t have made a better decision than Canton Country Day for our children.

Tom Schervish, II ‘90 – President of Stark Management Services

Country Day definitely taught me to think out of the box.  Status quo did not really exist there when I was a student and I think that is the one major component of my education that has served me best so far.  Acceptance and embracing the value of different cultures was also heavily stressed at CCDS through the diversity in the student body and the curriculum stress on learning about far away places and people.  My first job after college was with CCM, the hockey company which is Canadian owned.  I was chosen for several roles in my time working there because I had a French language background.  A lot of my co-workers at headquarters in Montreal and the factories around Quebec did not speak English.  Country Day definitely made a difference for me.

Meridith Foster White ‘84

As I reflect back on all of my schooling, elementary, high school and college, my most treasured memories are those of Canton Country Day School.  There was never a doubt in my mind that when I had children, I would want them to attend CCDS and continue my legacy.  I longed for them to experience the same wonderful memories that I had.  Those being the small class size, the feeling of family and individual love and attention that the teachers gave to each of us.  At the same time, educationally, we were leaps and bounds ahead of others our age.  In my mind, it was always a win/win situation.

Here I sit, having just turned 40, with four children who are carrying on my legacy and striving in every way possible.  My oldest, Chase, graduated in 2009 from CCDS and is now attending Canton Central Catholic.  I have no doubt that his achievements and successes at Central are a reflection of his education at CCDS.  He is in all Honors classes and doing very well!  My other children, Carson/6th grade, Grayson/4th grade and Campbell/Kindergarten, are showing the same independence, intelligence, articulation and sense of family that come with the environment and education at Canton Country Day School.  They continually refer to their classmates as their brothers and sisters.  Having been an only child myself, this was the feeling that I had and treasure to this day.

Michael Sirpilla ’02

michael-sirpilla-02Canton Country Day School, the name alone has many memories for me.  CCDS is where I experienced many things that are still very important in my life today.  I started my first band with the Gregis twins in fourth grade.   I played drums and they played guitar and bass.  We named our band “The Spoils”.  Thinking back, I have no idea what the name meant, but it was cool at the time.

It was in the eighth grade at CCDS that I learned to play guitar.  I loved listening to great songs and liked how they made me feel.  You know when you listen to that one song and you think, “Yeah, this song reminds me of where I am today in my life.”   Well, that’s the exact feeling I want to give others through my music.  My eighth grade year I taught myself to play the guitar and I also wrote songs.  These songs weren’t very good, but I found a connection and a love for songwriting that still exists today.

I graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas High School and have great memories there as well.  One memory is of my grandfather John Sirpilla building the school’s first football stadium.  Unfortunately, he passed away soon after my senior football season; I was captain of the football team.  My grandfather wanted to leave a legacy; the football field would be one of his many final projects for the community and, for his family.  It was named Sirpilla Stadium, in his honor.

After a tough senior year coping with my grandfather’s death, I was at a crossroads.  I was still writing and playing music, which is truly my passion, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to go full throttle and jump into the music industry.  I attended Stark State College for a year.  However, with guidance from family and friends, I was encouraged to follow my dreams as a songwriter and made a move to Los Angeles, California; a big jump for me coming from a small town.  I attended Musicians Institute.  It was there that I really started to learn and grow as a musician, and more importantly, as a person.   Without family close by, I had to start believing in myself.   Songwriting went from a hobby, to a love, or some might say a healthy obsession.  I began writing songs every week and really perfecting my craft.  Soon after, I began writing with other songwriters and began to learn “two minds are better than one”.

I lived in L.A for the better part of two years, but realized that family was a priority, so I moved back to Canton in December 2009.  I have a great job working at Howe Insurance.  I love sales and I’m meeting new people everyday.

I feel Canton Country Day School was the starting point for all that I am today and all that I wish to be.  My journey is far from over, but having a great community like CCDS in my life makes me want to set the bar higher.  Canton Country Day School instills in their students to “shoot for the stars”.  I have learned a lot from the great teaching staff at the school, and hopefully someday, I will be able to inspire kids as much as Canton Country Day inspired me.

In closing, I would like to thank my grandmother, Veronica Sirpilla, for all of her love and support over the years.  She is a huge reason why I had the chance to attend CCDS, St. Thomas Aquinas, and the Musicians Institute.  Thank you Canton Country Day for always being there for moral support and giving me the start to live a great and happy life.

Sherri and Doug Michael (Past Parents)

Spring of 2010 marks a time of celebration for the CCDS Class of 2006 – another milestone in life passes as these alumni graduate from high schools and academies and continue learning life’s lessons in other venues.  For the parents of these alums, feelings tend to run amok:  anxiety for their “kidults” as they move from home, pride in their offspring’s budding responsibility and accomplishments, and – for almost all -a sigh of relief as they cross a metaphorical finish line.

All of this introspection leads to memories of an earlier beginning – at CCDS.   Memories of the first days of kindergarten beginning with chaos and ending with a firm conviction that somehow, these competent, caring, wonders-of-the-world teachers would channel the raging energies and soothe the troubled psyches of both children and parents.  I particularly remember that, following a special assembly, the class held a tree planting ceremony to symbolize their role as “apples” in the Head of School’s vision of CCDS as a communal “orchard” of learners – a theme of community that would be continued throughout the following years.

A community of learners – that is what I embrace most about the CCDS experience.  It begins early in life for the students and never really ends.  It’s not about opening a box, inserting an uneducated youth, and baking in a required amount of facts and figures.  It’s about struggle, communication, accomplishment, and above all respect for self and others.  It’s about parent/teacher conferences that offer more than a checklist.  And learning to trust a teacher’s methodology that is designed for a new generation.  Parents continue to learn how to parent.  Teachers continue to hone their skills.  The CCDS student learns how he or she learns best, both strengths and weaknesses.  They learn about their fellow classmates strengths and weaknesses as well, and how to overcome obstacles working as a team.  Isn’t that much of what a successful life is all about?

I was told by past parents that CCDS prepares children not just for high school, but for college.  From my viewpoint now, I fully agree and I might add – preparation for life.  My daughter may not know the name of the fifteenth President of the United States, but she knows how and where to access that information.  She may be frustrated by a ballroom dance performance, but she knows how to express herself and any conflicts to her partner.  She may be challenged to understand the complexity of a book or a poem, but she knows that with perseverance and help from others, understanding will come.

Congratulations to our Class of 2006.  And thank you – all of you – at CCDS for playing such an important role in the lives of our children.