The positive experiences of two older siblings helped guide Chisom Ochuba through the doors of Upper Canada College. But since his arrival in UCC’s boarding program in September 2021, Chisom is finding brotherly advice in myriad new places.
The Year 9 (Grade 9) student says he’s grateful for the daily support he receives at the College. When he seeks guidance or just a sounding board, he always has someone helpful to turn to — from residential assistants and senior house advisers to teachers, university counsellors, administrators and fellow students.
"I find whenever I need advice, such as when I’m looking into university applications, there are teachers to help out or Grade 12s, who just completed their own applications, to guide me on my path," he says.
"Everybody becomes your friend in boarding," adds Chisom. "They’re like brothers."
While Chisom’s actual brothers both served on the Board of Stewards and went on to successful post-secondary pursuits, Chisom is clearly making his own mark at UCC. In his first year, he’s already involved in the UNICEF club, Model UN and the Duke of Edinburgh Award program. In addition, he’s played on UCC volleyball and basketball teams, and competes in a volleyball club outside the College.
Chisom wants to grab every opportunity presented to him on campus and beyond. He throws himself into stimulating courses, including computer programming, a personal favourite that draws on his creativity. He tries out many new activities and makes full use of the College’s "amazing facilities."
His weekend activities include pickup basketball games in the Hewitt Athletic Centre, workouts in the Strength, Agility, Speed (SAS) fitness centre, and friendly Rao Cup competition between the two boarding houses. He also enjoys arranged activities, such as paintball games and excursions to the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) or catching a Toronto Maple Leafs game. From his UCC residence in "the heart of Toronto," Chisom appreciates being just a short TTC ride to downtown venues.
Chisom’s family lives just over an hour’s drive from Toronto — some might call that commuting distance to UCC — but Chisom says on-campus living provides him with more time to study, to access to the facilities he adores, and to cultivate friendships with fellow boarders from around the world. He sees his family for holidays and chats with them about three times a week. "They know I’m in good hands," he says with a smile.
"Attending UCC is the opportunity of a lifetime," says this appreciative teenager. "It’s amazing to be part of this diverse community."
Yet another highlight of his experience, to date, was a visit to UCC’s Norval Outdoor School, where he relished climbing the high ropes, tubing on the Credit River, and sailing through the air in a blanket toss exercise.
But what he appreciates most about the College and its boarding program is "having friends close to you all the time."
During his first visits to UCC, Chisom recalls the lyrics of "You’ll Never Walk Alone" resounding from UCC’s Laidlaw Hall. Now those words seem to resonate through his daily life at the College.