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Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School (Waterloo, Ontario)

Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School is a high school operated by the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. It opened in September 2004 and provides both academic and vocational programs to 1,563 students as of the 2010-11 school year.

Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School
Sir John A. Macdonald SS in Waterloo panorama.jpg
650 Laurelwood Drive

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Coordinates43°28′16″N 80°35′40″W / 43.4711°N 80.5945°W / 43.4711; -80.5945Coordinates: 43°28′16″N 80°35′40″W / 43.4711°N 80.5945°W / 43.4711; -80.5945
School typePublic
MottoAudere est credere
(Dare to believe)
School boardWaterloo Region District School Board
PrincipalJennifer Shortreed
Vice-PrincipalsDavid Williamson
Siobhan Watters
Sandy Millar
Enrollment1 446 (November 2017)
Colour(s)Light Blue, Dark Blue and White             
MascotJohnny Mac
Team nameThe Highlanders



The school is located on Laurelwood Drive in the rapidly growing northwest end of the city of Waterloo. It is named after Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first prime minister, and is affectionately referred to as SJAM ("ess-jam"). The school motto is "audere est credere," translated as "dare to believe," which is the name of the school song. SJAM is the largest secondary school in the City of Waterloo.

The ArtsEdit

Sir John A. Macdonald is well known for great musical excellence. The school is very well known for its jazz program which was the largest in the region 2011-12. Its music groups almost always receive gold at K-W Kiwanis. In the 2018 year, the Senior Band received a platinum award at Kiwanis, and the Junior Band & Brass Quartet both received gold. The Senior Band would go on to also win Gold at MusicFest Canada 2018.

The drama department also fares well at the annual SEARS festivals. In the 2012-13 school year, they advanced to regionals. In 2014, they hosted the festival for Waterloo schools, and in 2018 they hosted NTSDF.

The school offers a wide variety of art programs as well, ranging from visual arts to photography.


SJAM's athletic teams are called the Highlanders. Both the Junior and Senior football teams were champions in 07-08 as well as juniors winning in 2009 and seniors in 2011 and 2012. SJAM also has a reputation for excellence in rugby, with the Bantam, Junior and Senior teams winning WCSSAA over 10 times combined. It is the only sport at the school to have a grade 9 team (bantam). Track and field has been very successful at OFSAA with student Anna Larsson taking gold and silver in pole vault, as well as John Fish taking bronze in the 400m. The track team continues to be successful at provincial competition. 2018 Junior girls cross country team has had much success at OFSAA, having qualified two years in a row. Girls' field hockey has been to OFSAA 4 straight years. With 3 silver medals from 2010-2012 and a gold in 2013.


SJAM offers pre-advanced placement courses for grade 9 and 10 students, and advanced placement courses for grade 11 and 12 students. SJAM is the Waterloo site of the WRDSB's Fast Forward program. About 17 per cent (245) of SJAM students are in Fast Forward Program. Since 2008, SJAM has been the number one ranking school in Waterloo Region in the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT), which is administered to all Grade 10 students in the Province of Ontario.

Community involvementEdit

SJAM has been involved in some community involvement. Some events and charities supported by the school include:

Other accomplishments include the raising of $12,008.83 for the 2010 Haiti earthquake relief through the Red Cross.[citation needed]

  • The school is also currently a "We School in Action" with Free the Children, and has pledged to raise $20,000 by the end of the school year.

Construction and setbacksEdit

Construction of the $27 million, 206,000-square-foot (19,100 m2) school was plagued by construction delays. It opened two months before construction was complete, with students initially limited to partial days of classes. The name was selected in 2003 by school board trustees. When they asked for suggestions, the most frequently submitted name was Oscar Peterson, but because he was still alive, Peterson wasn't eligible to have a school named after him (The Record, April 24, 2003).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Relay for Life at Sir John A. Macdonald - Canadian Cancer Society". Retrieved 4 August 2014.