Spencer Gayles
McGill-Toolen Class of 2011

Spencer Gayles is the epitome of a well-rounded student. He excels in the academic arena with an all Honors and AP curriculum. He is a member of the National Honor Society and has a 3.63 GPA. He received full scholarships to LSU and Springhill College and received the Spirit of Auburn Foundation Scholarship. He has chosen to attend LSU where he will march in the Tiger Marching Band.

Spencer is also dedicated to serving the community and living his Catholic faith. He is an active member of the Servants of the Poor, Pro-Life Club and Campus Ministry. He volunteers much of his time to community service. He was recently awarded the Development Office “Jacket Jubilation Meritorious Award” for his countless hours of service which are often done behind-the-scenes for no other reward or recognition other than helping and serving others. He is also a Student Ambassador and is a favorite on the McT Road Shows at his alma mater, St. Ignatius. He is the perfect student to speak on the topic of extracurricular involvement since he is involved in so much at McT!

But the thing Spencer is most passionate about is his music. He plays the violin, the guitar, and saxophone. He is a member of the McT Marching Band, Jazz Band and Symphoic Band. He attributes his self-motivation and persistence to his being a self-taught musician. “Regardless of whether it is learning an instrument or climbing the corporate ladder, it is ultimately up to one’s self to decide whether or not success is plausible.” Spencer feels he learned the importance of teamwork and self –discipline through being a part of the McT marching band. He says, “You have to have a lot of trust in your teammates when you have eighty band members walking backwards and anticipating being in the correct spot at the correct time”. He is also a member of the Chamber Singers, utilizing his musical talents in even another medium.

Spencer is a student who can “do it all and do it well”. His dedication to academics, service to others and his music will take him far in life.


McGill-Toolen Catholic High School has an academically comprehensive curriculum that is accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The academic programs range from college prep to honors and Advanced Placement programs in art, mathematics, social studies, English, foreign language and science. In addition, there is a program for students with learning disabilities.

All levels of instruction at McGill-Toolen are geared toward college-bound students to best suit their learning styles. College Preparatory 1 (CP1) courses are equivalent to CP2 classes, but the size is reduced to provide additional direct instruction. The same textbook and course of study are followed. In College Preparatory 2 (CP2) courses, content, pacing, and academic challenge are geared to students primarily within the average range of academic ability. Independent work and considerable personal responsibility are expected. The Honors course content, pacing, and academic challenges are accelerated beyond the college-preparatory levels. These classes are for college-bound students at ease with a demanding work load that routinely requires independent research and high levels of personal responsibility and motivation. Advanced Placement (AP) courses are exceedingly rigorous and are recommended exclusively for highly motivated students with exceptional academic abilities. Instruction is geared to a nationally-administered, optional test, the results of which are recognized by many colleges and universities as a basis for awarding advanced placement within their programs. See the special section at the end of this booklet for more detailed information. Tutoring is available through the National Honor Society by appointment.

Twenty-eight credits are required for graduation: Religion 4, English 4, Social Studies 4, Mathematics 4, Science 4, Physical Education 1, Humanities 2, Health ½, Computer Literacy ½, and electives as needed to meet graduation requirements.

The St. Thomas Aquinas Academy

The St. Thomas Aquinas Academy is a program of study named in honor of the saint Catholics believe to be the Church’s greatest theologian and philosopher.  One of the thirty-three Doctors of the Church, St. Thomas is considered the model teacher as his influence on Western thought is considerable. The Aquinas Academy is designed to challenge the most gifted and motivated students in a demanding course of study.  The development of the students’ abilities in all areas of the academic curriculum is emphasized along with various outside reading, writing, and extra activities.  Students who complete this program will emerge as caring, capable, well-rounded young men and women ready to face worldly challenges and avail themselves of opportunities  – armed with the strength of their faith and an exemplary academic program.  They will live the philosophy of St. Thomas – “Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do.”

During their time at McGill-Toolen, Aquinas Scholars (as they will be referred to) must maintain a 3.5 grade point average (weighted); complete a minimum of seven credits of AP or Pre-AP courses, twelve credits of honors courses and two years of Latin.  Students will be encouraged to take more foreign language courses.  For each semester, the student will complete a different assignment and/or activity based on learned coursework for that particular semester.   In addition, certain electives will be required for each year.  The Aquinas Scholars program will not deter a student from participating in the athletic, music, or extra-curricular programs. An additional goal for these students in the Academy is achieving National Merit Finalist and AP Scholar status. 

Aquinas Scholars will be the first students invited and encouraged to participate in an annual college tour conducted by the school.  The trip is designed for high-achieving students to visit out-of-state colleges and universities. Students will learn more about the admissions process and eventually apply and be accepted to some of the most selective schools in the country.  Those seniors graduating and fully meeting the requirements of the program will be recognized separately at the graduation ceremony in addition to other special recognition throughout their participation in the Academy.

Incoming freshmen whose placement test scores are in the national percentile range of 85 or above(on each sub-test) are eligible. Their grades from middle school are  required to be all A’s and B’s (or the equivalent).  Students who do not qualify for honors geometry as entering freshmen may enter the Academy but will need to double-up in math during one of the years of participation if they plan to graduate with Calculus.
The typical Aquinas Scholars curriculum is documented below. The Assistant Principal of Academic Affairs will oversee the program with attention to extra projects, essays, and papers.  Please contact Lisa Robertson at 445-2905 for more information.

Freshman Year
Honors Old/New Testament
Honors World History
Honors Algebra or Geometry
Honors Principles of Physics
Honors Literature/Composition
Latin I
Keyboarding/P.E. ,  Band or Chorus
1st Semester— Presentation on World Leaders/Nations
2nd Semester— PSAT Prep

Sophomore Year
Honors Church History
AP European or World History
Honors Algebra I or II
Honors Chemistry
Pre-AP Literature
Latin II
Health/Driver's Ed/P.E.
Band or Chorus
Semester 1 - Significant Leaders of the Church Essay Presentation
Semester 2 - Participation in the National Latin Exam

Junior Year
Honors Morality
AP U.S. History
Honors Algebra II or Pre-Calculus
Honors/AP Biology or AP Chemistry
AP English Language
Electives (2 credits)*
Semester 1 - Tutoring
Semester 2 - Biology Project
w/environmental implications

Senior Year
Honors Apologetics
Honors Catholic Doctrine
AP Government
AP Science
(Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Environmental Science)
AP English Literature
Honors Pre-Calculus, Honors Calculus or AP Calculus
Electives  (2 credits)*
Semester 1 - Defense of the Faith
Essay - Apologetics
Semester 2 - Research Paper AP English Lit

* Possible electives - Latin III Honors, AP Latin IV,Fine Arts Survey, Band, Choral Music, Public Speaking, Athletic P.E., Science Courses, Other Foreign Language Courses, Social Studies Electives and Technology Courses

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