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It started out as a “learning experience” but with her passion on full display, Selena, who just completed Grade 9 at Trafalgar Castle School, has been offered a full-time position in the professional dance program at the School of Alberta Ballet in Calgary.
During the summer break, Selena participated in the three-week program that is often used as an audition by many hopeful students who would like to enroll full-time in the program, as part of her summer training. Much to her surprise, she was offered a guaranteed full-time spot in the program after only her second week.
Torn between accepting the offer and returning to her studies at Trafalgar, Selena and her family waited until the final minutes before the deadline to make the decision. “I am really excited about the opportunity and while I am scared, I am also looking forward to the balance between dance and academics,” shared Selena.
Her parents also like the idea of the balance and though they encourage Selena to follow her passion, they place an equally high value on her academics. “Her schedule was very tight, where she would have to practice late into the night after school to be performance-ready,” said mom, Alicia.
Selena has been dancing since the age of three and has starred in many productions, recently playing the role of Clara in The Nutcracker. Last year, she was invited to participate in the full-year program at the Kirov Academy of Ballet after spending the summer in Washington, D.C. but chose to return to Trafalgar for her studies.
The entire family will miss Selena who will now have more time during her school day to focus on dance. “We are not really thinking about how she will be gone for a year yet. Maybe it will hit us when she leaves in September,” adds Alicia.
Selena is very close to her sister, Marissa also a Trafalgar student, who admits she will miss her sister a great deal though being very supportive of her.
As Selena looks ahead, she is still very unsure about what the future holds but is hopeful to return to Trafalgar for Grade 11 to complete her secondary studies and rejoin her friends. “This year will help me to explore my options,” says Selena.
We wish her all the best!
Long summer days often provide opportunities for students to embrace experiences they may have dreamt about. This particular summer dream turned into a year-long experience for Trafalgar alumna, Karen May-Kim, Class of 1999 when she joined a tall-ship program called Class Afloat for her Grade 11 year.
The program creates a chance to experience learning through living, as high school students sail the world aboard a majestic tall ship, while pursuing academic goals, exploring new cultures and fostering friendships.
Now a teacher, Karen recently shared her story when she returned to Trafalgar as a member of the Faculty for a short while.
Here is her account:
“When I was in Grade 11, I sailed around the world on a tall ship. It was a 188 foot barquentine called the Concordia. This ship later sank 500 miles off the coast of Brazil in February 2010. At the time I sailed, there were 29 students in the first semester from Grades 11- CEGEP, and 35 students in the second semester.
In the first semester we travelled from San Diego, California; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; The Galapagos; Easter Island; Pitcairn Island; Tahiti; Western Samoa; New Caledonia; Brisbane, Australia; Darwin, Australia to Bali, Indonesia. The route in the second semester proved quite as adventurous, when we travelled from Malaysia; the Maldives; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Odessa, Ukraine; Mykonos; Naxos and Crete in Greece; Malta; Cagliari in Italy; Malaga in Spain; Gibraltar; Lisbon, Portugal; St. Malo, France; Ostend, Belgium; Oslo, Norway; and Copenhagen, Denmark.
Though it may seem like an extended vacation, we had classes while at sea and were involved in land programs, exploring while we were in port. There were also periods of brief homestays in a few stops, where I learned so much.
I really grew up during the program and my increased knowledge of the wider world changed me. I was immersed in so many cultures that it really opened my eyes at a young age to the way others lived. For example, we had to cover up in Saudi Arabia and abide by the laws of that country, which was especially educational for me. One of my favourite experiences was a homestay on Pitcairn Island. It is a very, very small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with a population of only about 55 when we were there. We lived with a family, and quickly learned that you don't need much to be extremely happy.
One of my favourite memories is being on watch in the middle of the ocean in the middle of the night. There were stars everywhere, and the only sound was the ship going through the water. It was very peaceful.
It was difficult to communicate with home back in 1996/97 as we didn't have email and Skype etc., so we relied on snail mail and phone calls when in port. I was quite homesick at the start but that changed early on. The friendships and experiences that I gained will last a lifetime. We are currently all in discussion about a 20-year reunion next fall or summer!”
We are almost at the halfway point of summer holidays and the new school term is looming. While there is still plenty of summer time left, here are a few tips as we prepare for the new school year from Tim Southwell, VP Academics.
The first step is to look at the broad, overall plan for the upcoming school year. Does it involve improving marks or a new level of sports involvement? Perhaps there is a need to develop a new interest for personal growth or for future applications, in the case of the older student. Keeping in mind that extra-curricular involvement often requires early registration.
Gap analysis time: find out how your child has to get from “here to there”. Does the child need to contact a teacher resource, tutor, or community member to get to their ultimate goal? This leads to the next step: become knowledgeable. Know your resources and determine the people and the material needed in order to start strong in the fall. Begin collecting the information the student needs to reach their goal, and definitely seek out the advice of experienced friends and relatives.
Then, get organized. The contacts will need to be in place. A schedule will need to be drafted. This might mean defining a homework plan or securing the time to set up practices, rehearsals, car-pooling or time for a tutor. Remember, each year is an entirely new game and what worked for the child previously may very well not work this coming year.
Once the new plan is in place and you’ve had a chance to recoup, it will be a good idea to monitor how it is progressing and to tweak any issues. And finally, the key to the successful year: balance.
There isn’t a need to schedule every moment for a child. Please ensure there is “down time” away from technology. Most kids are not taking time to disengage the mind periodically and to let it rest. This allows them the space to solve problems, and consider what their next step needs to be.
Whether young or old, our minds need time to process our thoughts, while not under pressure. While we tend to reach for the phone, laptop or other electronic device we should consider playing music, reading, or any other calm activity to catch a breath. It will do both the student and the parents good.
The school is closed today
Boarding Student Orientation Day 1
9 - 11 a.m. - Grades 7-12 arrive at School
11:30 a.m. - 12 noon - New Student & Family Tours
12 noon - 1 p.m. - Family Welcome Luncheon
3 - 3:30 p.m. - All Student & Parents attend Closing Remarks from Head of School in the Chapel
5 - 5:45 p.m. - Students Only Dinner
Day Student Orientation Day
9 a.m. - NEW DAY STUDENT and parents orientation assembly in the Chapel
9 a.m. - noon - Parents' Guild Welcome in the Main Hall
9 a.m. - 3 p.m. - Laptop pickup in the Project Room
9:30 a.m. - Grade 5 to 8 students pickup timetables, pre-ordered textbooks and pre-ordered laptop
11:30 a.m. - Grade 9 to 12 students pickup timetables, pre-ordered textbooks and pre-ordered laptop