It was with pride, and a touch of sadness, that staff at Rossland’s Seven Summits Centre for Learning (7S) officially launched nine graduates out into the world armed with a record breaking $11,150 worth of bursaries and scholarships shared among the small, awesome class of 2019.
“Go make some memories but remember to drop in and visit us!” Seven Summits administrator Joyce Oostindie told the departing students at their sixth annual celebration and graduation ceremony.
Benefiting from intimate, personalized learning groups, the graduates leave 7S equipped with the skill sets, self-confidence and independence to pursue their personal ambitions, sporting dreams, apprenticeships, work placements and post-secondary education.
Following in the footsteps of 7S alumni who are currently excelling at universities at home and abroad (including Huddersfield University in the UK, Harvard, UBC, and the Universities of Toronto, Alaska, Torino and Queens), their transition to the next stage will be a relatively seamless one due to the unique approach to learning 7S adopts.
This year’s graduation was particularly poignant with three of the 7S Grads completing their entire high school career at 7S together, and accessing Navigate’s innovative, award-winning learning resources from right on their doorstep.
“7S can accommodate your schedule in a way other schools are not able to,” explains Samara Kuhn, who graduated a year early and will be attending the University of Victoria following a ten-month Rotary Exchange in France. She attributes the impressive accomplishment to “wonderful teachers” and the ability to “work at my own pace.”
“Everyone who works and helps at Seven Summits Centre for Learning wants to see you succeed and will do everything it takes to make sure that happens.”
Explaining what she will take from her three years at 7S, Kuhn says: “Learning how to properly manage my time and school work with the rest of my life has already and will continue to serve me well”.
Kai Richter, who moved to Rossland from Vermont for Grade 12, will be studying Environmental Engineering at St. Lawrence University in New York State and skiing NCAA for them, with a scholarship. For him, the best part of his final year was the “unique sense of community,” where everyone has a “special place and works together in a special way.”
“7S helped me take my learning into my own hands,” says Richter. “As a serious athlete I could keep up with my studies at the times that worked best for me. The staff helped me become a more independent student, learner and person and if other students want to be surrounded by people and a situation that supports their dreams, they should consider it.”
“These students have the strength to make the change that’s needed in the world,” said special guest speaker Jeff Taylor and principal from SD71 North Island Distance Education School. Attending with vice principal Alison Kaviliunas, they celebrated the students’ accomplishments, borne from an innovative partnership with Seven Summits Centre for Learning and the delivery of its Navigate program.
“We really value the support from our local businesses, volunteers and the wider community who are integral to our continued success and make our centre the vibrant and progressive place of learning which it has become,” says Ann Quarterman, operations manager for Seven Summits Centre for Learning. “The graduation is always a really personalized event which showcases the kind, wonderful and gifted individuals we are raising together.”
The celebrations, which included athlete recognition and undergrad awards for academic excellence, active participation, learner evolution and personal achievements were also used to say farewell to departing teacher extraordinaire Andrea Pierce who is moving to Sanikiluaq with her new husband.
She was gifted a painting of the town, featuring the iconic red-roof heritage building 7S is housed in, created by student Faith Pappas.
“Andrea is so loved by everyone here and will be really missed,” says Quarterman. “A great attempt was made at grad to keep her in Rossland by encasing her in a large cardboard box but she managed to break out! However, there are plans to connect via Skype and arrange exchanges so that students can experience life in the North,” she adds.
Seven Summits Centre for Learning was established by the community, for the community, six years ago to provide greater educational choice in the region. Following the B.C. Ministry of Education’s 21st century learning model and supported by fully certified B.C. teachers, it continues to exceed expectations and has built a solid reputation for delivering an exceptional, personalized, creative, and forward-thinking high school education for students in Grades 8 to 12.