What is it Like to Win The Best School Year Ever?

Peo Boitumelo, Salma Rafi, Diego D’Lorm, Chanel Khuu and Alana Norie won scholarships as part of The Best School Year Ever® 2019-20 contest.

Do you know a student who would excel at St. Michaels University School? The Best School Year Ever® scholarship contest is on now and we’re searching for amazing high school students to join our boarding community!

The deadline for the contest is less than a month away (January 6, 2020) so if you know a student who would be a great fit at SMUS, we encourage you to let them know about the contest and encourage them to enter.

Grade 11 student Chanel Khuu entered the contest last year thinking, “I have nothing to lose and so much to gain by entering.” The Canmore, Alberta resident is now four months in to the school year at SMUS after winning the grand prize in last year’s contest.

We sat down with Chanel to learn more about her Best School Year Ever experience so far:

Why did you enter the contest?

I really like change. Although I love my old school, it was very different from what SMUS offered. I could see the contrast between this school and my old school in size, the environment and the beauty of the school. And just looking at all the courses that the school had, there’s so much variety, especially in social studies and in APs.

When you entered, what were you hoping to get from The Best School Year Ever opportunity?

I wanted to stretch myself. I wanted to try things that I’ve always wanted to try, like the musical. I always wanted to be in a musical, because I love acting, I love singing, I love dancing, but I’ve never gotten to utilize my talents for that until now. And I wanted to try new courses that I haven’t been able to take before.

How has the experience been so far academically?

I was really nervous to enter all my classes because I knew it would be more rigorous than what I’m used to, but I’m really enjoying them. Some classes have been challenging and I’m grateful for that because I’ve overcome those challenges by learning how to manage my time more.

What do you like most about boarding life?

I love boarding so much. It’s just living in a house with all your friends; like living in a house with 40 sisters and then next door there’s 40 brothers. That’s really cool. You’re never bored, but you always have time to be alone in your room with some privacy if you want to. But if you want something to do, there’s always someone there for you, which is super nice. Everyone’s so supportive and I enjoy it so much. It makes me really happy to think that I was given the opportunity to be a boarder. It’s really cool because you’re exposed to a lot of culture and diversity, so you learn a lot even when you’re not in class; you’re learning outside of the classroom setting just by interacting with people from all over the world.

Has SMUS helped you discover what you want to do after high school?

I still don’t know what I want to do, but I think I’ve moved down the path towards figuring out that I am very creative person and I love the arts the most. I’m not sure if I’ll make something of it when I grow up, but I’ve definitely discovered that I enjoy interacting with people and performing. But I also love mathematics, and I’ve discovered a love for chemistry.

What would you say to a high school student to encourage them to enter The Best School Year Ever contest?

If you’re thinking about entering the contest, I think you should just do it because there’s definitely a part of you that wants to win or a part of you that wants this opportunity to be in such a great place. There’s nothing to lose. It will be the best decision ever because there’s always a chance that you’ll get to come here.

If you could offer one tip to a student to help make their video stand out, what would it be?

Think outside of the box, and involve your friends and your family to get their input. I asked my parents and my friends what they thought I should put in mine and it really helped me shape my video. It helps open it up because it’s not just your perspective but also how other perceive you and what they think is special about you.

Do you have any other thoughts about your time at SMUS?

I’m just so grateful to be in a place where everyone’s so different, but at the same time we’re all united in a school that’s very proud of our academics, our community and our arts. Everyone brings something different to the table and contributes a piece to this community that everyone can enjoy.


This year, one student will win a full boarding scholarship, worth $60,000, for the 2020-21 school year. There are three finalist prizes each worth $40,000. And we’re also awarding eight runner-up prizes worth $25,000 each. Learn more at bestschoolyearever.ca.

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