The Spaulding Central Story

A journey to transform our region

The Spaulding Central Story

Central Highschool Barrie Spaulding Story

This story starts January 2016 when I spoke with a well-respected teacher (now vice principal in the public-school system) and parent of one of my students.  I had mentioned to her that since Central Highschool was closing, what was truly needed in the area would be for someone to convert Central Highschool to an epic School of The Arts much like in the television series “Fame” from the 80s.  Students could learn everything from dance, music drama and fine art, to math, science, history and the like in one seamless alternative education experience. This approach would reach students that could not normally be reached in the education system while empowering individuals to reach new heights of success.

You see, throughout all of my developing years I struggled with school.  Every report card I received always featured the statement: “Damian could be doing a lot better if only he applied himself”.  I had teachers call me dumb through my schooling time and I do recall a good 45-minute argument my mother had with a teacher before I moved into high school. My mother argued that I was more than capable of an academic stream of learning even though the guidance teacher strongly suggested otherwise.  The argument became quite heated over time and thankfully my mother won the argument.  Had I known earlier in my scholastic development that I was not operating “below the curve” of the class but actually “well above the curve” of my classmates, my life may have been very different today. After sharing my story, I have learned that my experience is not uncommon to many students in the tranditional education system. 

The truth is, I (and many others) learn and think differently than most and because of that, I became one of those students that could easily “fall between the cracks” of the existing education system.   How does this pertain to Central Highschool and the School of the arts you ask?

The answer to this question is two fold:

1) I used to be one of the most shy, introverted and implosive people you would ever meet.  I was far too shy to introduce my parents to my teacher at parent teacher night for example.  I would rather exist in a cave of safety and silence than risk being viewed or questioned in the public eye.  It was not until highschool that I really found myself and found my confidence.  My new confidence was discovered in large-part from the stage and the performances I experienced and facilitated at the time.  Experiencing the arts was life-changing for me and it has now become my passion and life’s work to empower others to experience the same success that I have benefited from in my life.  This is what powers me to push as hard as I to do establish the new “School of The Arts” programs in Canada as well as abroad.  Empowering youth to find a new self, a new confidence and a new life resulting from artistic expression and performance truly fuels my flame as well as the flames of those in our management teams.

2) It was not until College that I learned how to leverage my mind to the highest of its ability.  For example: Starting studies of medical text books at the end and working toward the beginning works far better for me than following the standard teaching approach of beginning to end.  Through my medical learning experience at I learned the human body and mind as best I can. Histology, Cytology, Myology, Osteology, Splanchnology and just about any other medical “ology” you can think of.  Through my Neurology courses and learning of the mind, I then created foundational principles to develop a new approach to learning and mental engineering that would ensure, to the best of my ability, that no student would fall through the cracks of an education system like I almost did.  This was the dawning of the Spaulding Method of Learning.

3) I know I said the question was two-fold but I will add a third.  Prior to my college experience, I had learned to play guitar in 30 days by confining myself to my bedroom.  I was the kind of person where if I could not learn a new task within a short period of time, my low self-esteem would get the best of me and I would simply quit as I internally self-destructed. Knowing this about myself I gave myself a 30-day time limit to learn the instrument. As I have already been singing on stage for a couple of years, it was time to accompany myself.  Back then was no YouTube learning or internet support.  Just two books that my uncle gave me that broke the guitar down into techniques for the two hands leveraged within it. 

I practiced 8 hours a day my first week, 6 hours a day my second week and my hands hurt so badly by the third week I could only shamelessly get in about 2.5 hours per day.  Then was back up to 4 hours for the last week of that month.  By the end of that time I could roughly play bout 20 or 30 camp songs successfully as that was my first goal.  I then took to the stage about 90 days after that. Within 1.5 years, I then took to teaching myself piano (with the assistance of Ken Fry at KCI high school).  Upon others witnessing my rapid learning process, a number of friends and colleagues wanted to learn music how I learned and from there the Spaulding Method of Learning / Teaching was born.  Over the years, it has been refined to what it is today.  

But back to Central Highschool:
Those that know me, know my character, perseverance, capability to problem solve and deep desire to positively impact my community.  They know that my wife and I have lifted ourselves from adverse poverty into a life of teaching and community involvement that continues to grow with time. And my community knew that if I put my mind to reviving Central Highschool, the project would be a success.  Therefore, the plan was now in motion.

After that first conversation back in January of 2016, I shared the concept with another highly respected individual whose son I had taught for years.  He saw how my method truly brought his son out of his shell and empowered him in great ways.  His son really struggled in school and just about every other area in his life and I felt it was an honour to be trusted to help develop his skill and character over the years.  He knew that the “Spaulding Method” would be life-changing for any student involved and volunteered himself to support whatever directions we took as a team so long as I was in the direct leadership role. His direct and passionate support locked the project for me.  From that moment forward, it was on!

I immediately moved to contacting all of the top talents in the region in order to lift the project into the air. This included the community's top Accountants, Legal Advisers, Teachers, Community Leaders, Business Executives and so on.  I invited only one member of the press to document our first “round table” meeting, which was the project's first step towards making history.  At the end of the meeting, the group of roughly 15 strategists were all astounded at the quality of the team that was developed.  As they said, everyone at the table were “problem solvers” and together we could accomplish anything! By February 22nd 2016, the project went public and man were we in for a ride!

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Spaulding Central Story Menu:
Part 1: The Beginning
Part 2: The Ramp Up
Part 3: Raising The Octane
Part 4: Getting Real
Part 5: Not For Profit
Part 6: Next Steps
Special Thanks
Project Links

Part 2: The Ramp Up

Central Spaulding Ramp Up

The story behind the ramp up to acquire Central Highschool.  The investors and the roller-coaster

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About Spaulding Day School

About Spaulding School of The Arts

About the Spaulding School of The Arts

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Spaulding Education Approach

Child Fine Art Education
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Contact Us

Great Ideas Contact Us

Contact the Spaulding School of The Arts!

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