Friday, April 13, 2012

We have an Explorer

Both our children have been in French Immersion from kindergarten through Grade 7.  Lindsay stayed with the French program into high school where the subjects actually taken in the french language diminish over time but you do get a double high school diploma in English and French.

When we had to move David to a new school in Grade 7 I spent a lot of time looking at all the options and what impacts our choice of elementary school would have for his high school choices.

I had heard of the Explorations Program at McMath (same school as Lindsay) but it would mean giving up the French program and switching over.  After much research and discussion with David, his amazing Grade 7 teacher, Kelly, other parents who have kids in Explorations or did have, our ever-friendly school counsellor connection Mr Pattern and others....we decided to enter David into the selection process for Explorations.

We felt pretty good that if he got in that would be great and if not we would be happy to see him continue in the French he has invested so much time in and is very good at.

65 kids applied for 30 spaces in Explorations.

There was quite a process of reference letters, academic transcripts, a logical thinking and scientific reasoning exam, a portfolio of work to assemble and then present at an interview.  We duly worked with David to get it all done and went through a couple mock interviews throwing questions at him.  He was very nervous on the day of the interview.  I drove him there and waited anxiously myself until he was done.
The Application ready to go!

He bounced out of the school feeling pretty good.

And then the wait, which we thought would be several weeks.  We prepared David for both being accepted and being not accepted.

And then this week Tuesday he go a letter from the High school.

A super nice letter to David with the all important line "We are pleased to offer you a place in the McMath Explorations Program for 2012/2013".


One very excited boy (and his family)!  So proud of him and so looking forward to all the next 3 years will hold for him - here is the program description.....

The McMath Explorations Program is designed to meet the needs of high ability, self-motivated students with potential leadership qualities. The program spans three years starting in grade 8. Students in each grade will study three of the four core courses (Science, English, and Social Studies) in an environment designed to challenge them. There will be opportunities for cooperative learning situations, independent study, and out of school field experiences. Students must be independent thinkers and risk-takers in their approach to learning and possess critical thinking and creative problem solving skills. It should be noted that a strong work ethic and positive attitude towards schooling are actually more important as selection criteria than is raw intelligence. In addition to its academic goals, students in the McMath Explorations program will be involved in local community service opportunities. An emphasis will be placed on promoting leadership and fostering community within and outside of the program.

Compared to where we were with school and David a year ago, it is nothing short of a miracle that we are standing here with our explorer today. A day after he made an excellent french public speaking presentation in competition last night and happily long boarded to school this morning.  I hate when people say "He so deserves this" but I will say that it makes my heart swell to see this kid get some check marks in the win column.

So proud of you Davy.