Last year, SMUS launched a unique grade-wide experiential program for our Grade 10 students. The program weaves hands-on out-of-the-classroom experiences with students’ in-class lessons to help them better connect theory and practice. In addition, the program aims to introduce students to new opportunities and interests.
Last month, our Grade 10 students participated in the first of four day-long expeditions. From dirt biking and self defense classes, to survival skills and cultural outings, students chose from more than 20 different experiences. This week (Nov. 30), students once again head out into Greater Victoria for a full day of in-depth learning in a real-world situation.
Below, three of our Grade 10 students write about their time in the experiential program so far.
by Preetinder Dhillon
The Grade 10 experiential day was the highlight of my October. The name of expedition I took was “Hola Salut Nihao Konnichiwa”, each word is a greeting in a different language and we explored each language in its own unique way.
Salut is French for hello, so we went to a beautiful little cooking class facility called The London Chef. We made delicious omelettes, they were to die for and we all each had a turn to flip French crepes. It was tough! Let’s just say that all of our crepes successfully flipped. Next up was Nihao, where we learnt a little bit of Chinese martial arts, or more specifically Wing Chun.
Hola (Spanish for hello), led us to lunch at a kind lady’s home, where we made Sopes, a Mexican dish. Our host was of Mexican heritage and she taught us how to make guacamole, the sopes dough and she even taught us how to dance a traditional dance. Her house really felt like home, from the wonderful smells to the kindness and warmth in the atmosphere. After lunch we headed to our final activity, Japanese Taiko Drumming, which I really enjoyed after getting into the rhythm of it. My expedition was the best! (Not to boast, but it really was.) We had amazing food, we were indoors all day away from the rainy weather, and I love learning about and experiencing other cultures. I really appreciate all the work that goes into organizing an opportunity like this for students to do something fun and try something new. I love the way SMUS enriches us about the world around us!
My experience in the Survival Skills expedition was unforgettable. Being put in a position where I had to find and make my own shelter, fire, food and water was something I never thought I would have to do. It really was an eye-opening experience for me. Being able to connect with classmates I wasn’t that close to and learn new skills was really enjoyable, and definitely something I will keep with me forever. I look forward to experiencing other activities and going on more adventures through the Grade 10 program.
by Will Barry
Working with little kids can be a challenge. Kids fight, kids cry, and in big groups of kids a big challenge (which is also a virtue) presents itself: they’re all very different.
This is exactly what I got to experience when I had the opportunity to spend time with young children at The Cridge Child Care Services. Some of these children had disabilities, some were disadvantaged, and some were new Canadians who spoke very little English. As such, among the laughs and games we had playing with the children, there were sometimes problems. But in the end, we (as older students) ended up learning from the kids. If there was a communication problem, or even if somebody was just upset, we needed to handle it and make compromises. The skills I got to put to use helping take care of these little ones could be applicable not only in similar situations, but group environments with tough dynamics. I think it’s important to be exposed to challenges like these as early as possible so we can gain these kinds of skills.
Volunteering at the Cridge Centre isn’t the only thing we experienced that day. In the afternoon, we discussed the important issue of youth homelessness. We focused on the challenges and problems that young people face when they’re homeless. It was incredibly eye-opening to see people our age or older living in extreme poverty, while we live a very different lifestyle. We then got the chance to speak to the director of the Out of the Rain Youth Shelter and learn about their needs.
Overall it was a great experience! The fact that experiences like these are integrated into the school year is terrific, and it just adds that much more value to our education.