May 7th, 2014 ~ Vol. 84 No. 18
Local teen heading to Hong Kong
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Source: Facebook
Kate Pundyk has won a full scholarship to Li Po Chun World United College in Hong Kong.
Pass Herald Reporter
This August, Kate Pundyk will be leaving the towering mountains and peaceful forests of the Crowsnest Pass for a city with almost twice the population of Alberta.
“It’s going to be really different because it’s one of the most densely populated cities in the world and I’m going there from the Pass,” she says.
Kate, 16, is receiving a full scholarship to Li Po Chun United World College (UWC) in Hong Kong, a very prestigious high school.
The school is one of 14 international institutions and colleges that make up the UWC movement, which was founded by the German educationalist Kurt Hahn in 1962.
It is designed to promote international and intercultural understanding by gathering some of the brightest kids in the world under one roof for their formative teenage years.
Local educators are disappointed Kate will not be graduating from Crowsnest Consolidated High School (CCHS), but say her acceptance shows the quality of the local education system.
“I think this demonstrates that if kids, families, schools and the community all work together, we can support kids in all kinds of endeavors,” says CCHS principal Wes Wescott.
Ian Baxter, Vice Principal of CCHS, says Kate’s scholarship says a lot for the high school and for the education system in Alberta. The numbers seem to back this up.
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A 2009 PISA study, which is an international test, found that Alberta’s 15-year olds came second in the world in reading and fourth in the world in science. These were the highest scores in the country.
More and more Albertans are completing high school. According to Education Alberta, 81.7 per cent of students who enter grade 10 complete high school within five years.
Baxter also says Kate’s achievement speaks volumes on the quality of education in rural Alberta. He says schools in bigger cities might offer more courses but a smaller school allows staff and students to build relationships.
“No kid can get through this school without [Wescott] and I having an opportunity to teach him or her. In a large school, that’s not going to happen,” he says.
Kate had to go through a selection process before getting the scholarship including an interview, a writing test and reference letters.
Baxter is sorry to see his pupil leave the school, having known her for most of her academic career, but is happy she has this opportunity.
“To me, it’s kind of a double edged sword, as her teacher I was looking forward to teaching her in grade 12. But this is an amazing opportunity for her,” he says.
Kate, who says her favourite class is math, will be living in a dorm with both international and local students when she arrives in Hong Kong in August.
May 7th ~ Vol. 84 No. 18
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