Rural schools have advantages

The big advantage with growing up in a small town is the opportunity to become well-rounded individuals

For those who missed last Wednesday’s awards ceremony at Clearwater Secondary School, one of the highlights was a short speech made by Jordie Akers.

Akers is one of three CSS students who have been accepted into the International Baccalaureate program at United World Colleges over the past three years.

As reported in last week’s Times, two years ago Robson Beaudry was accepted and went to Hong Kong to study. Last year it was Akers’ turn, and he has spent the year studying at Lester Pearson College on Vancouver Island. This year Kiera Stel got the nod and will also study at Pearson College.

As Akers pointed out, for three students to be accepted in three years from a school with a graduating class of less than 50 students is exceptional (only three other students from B.C. will be in Stel’s class, for example).

Value of the scholarships the three students from Clearwater are receiving has been put at $80,000 each – or a total of $240,000.

Even though they come from a small school in a rural community, Akers encouraged other Clearwater students to apply for UWC and similar programs.

No doubt the three-for-three record is something of a statistical anomaly, but it does prove one thing – there is nothing second-rate about the education and upbringing that local youngsters receive.

The big advantage with growing up in a small town is the opportunity to become well-rounded individuals.

As mentioned in an editorial a couple of weeks ago, children in Canada now play only three hours or less a week.

That doesn’t seem to be the case here. Look outside when the weather’s nice and you’ll see youngsters playing in backyards all over town.

Add to that the multiple programs available for children – hockey, soccer, band, Scouts, Guides, and so on – and we shouldn’t be surprised that we produce young men and women who impress.

The critical Clearwater difference, and we see it in all those programs, is that those in charge believe that striving for excellence should be fun.

What’s next? Maybe a few Rhodes scholarships?