Three Comox Valley secondary students will have the opportunity to enhance their leadership skills and bring new ideas back to the Valley, thanks to Dr. Andreas Conradi.
The Comox-based dental surgeon attended Pearson College, outside of Victoria, for two years when he was young. Now, for the third year in a row, he’s given three $3,000 scholarships to Valley youth so they can participate in the college’s three-week summer program, Pearson Seminar on Youth Leadership.
“You get an in-depth immersion into youth leadership programs and ideas, what you can bring back to the community, what you can do locally while thinking globally, how you can act and react,” Conradi says of the program. “For three weeks you live and learn with like-minded people.”
Highland Secondary School’s Brett Dalton and Ginger Long, and Mark R. Isfeld Secondary School’s Kaitlyn Fortier were chosen for the scholarships this year and will head down to the college later this month.
Located on waterfront property west of Victoria, the program features a series activities to strengthen leadership skills and explore global issues, and has 100 attendees from around the world. The program also includes plenty of outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking, plus various presentations designed to get students thinking about what they can do to improve their communities and the world.
“I’m really looking forward to this experience and I’m really happy that I got this opportunity,” says Long, who will be entering Grade 12 next year. She adds she’s especially excited about all the activities, meeting new people, and coming up with ideas to enrich her school and community.
Long has already demonstrated leadership skills. She volunteers with various organizations and initiatives around the Valley, and likes volunteering at youth camps in particular.
“I really enjoy working with younger kids because they’re going to grow into the rest of the community so they have the biggest impact,” she explains.
Dalton will start Grade 11 in Highland’s International Baccalaureate Programme for Grade 11 and 12 students in September. Highland vice principal Rob Grantham notes Highland just started the IB Programme last September, and Pearson’s youth leadership seminar will tie in nicely for Dalton and for Highland.
“Pearson College is part of the United World College system and there are United World Colleges all over the world and they all run the IB Programme, the IB curriculum,” he says. “Any chance we have to have kids or faculty go other places and interact with other people that are part of the IB community, which is a global community, it’s a benefit for us (because of what they bring back).”
Dalton adds the three-week seminar will be a great warm up before he starts Highland’s IB Programme.
“It’s going to be like a really big sampling of what I’m going to be expecting for the next two years,” he says. “It’s going to be really exciting.”
Conradi presented Fortier’s scholarship to her during Isfeld’s awards ceremony earlier this year.
He asks that the students write a short essay about their experience, including what new ideas they plan to implement in their schools and communities.
“For myself, and my office, and my whole team, this is an opportunity to also give back to the community,” says Conradi. “The community supports us as health-care providers, so we feel very much enriched by that experience and we’d like to be able to give that back.”