Testimonies From PG Mini Alumni

Victoria McCann - Class of 2013

March 30, 2016

Point Grey Mini School
5350 East Boulevard
Vancouver, B.C.
V6M 3V2

It is impossible to know how important your time spent in high school is until you are past it. Even now, I am finding it hard to articulate just how formative those years have been, shaping me into the person that I am today. It has been three years since I graduated from the Point Grey Mini School program, and I still do not think I can fully explain the ways in which that time has impacted my life. I have always looked back at that time very fondly, but it was not until heading off to university that I really began to understand just how unique my high school experience was.

First of all, I am grateful for the enriched education I received in the Mini School program. Beyond the general curriculum, a core group of six teachers shared their passions and excitement with their students everyday. I remember the distinct moment in my 9th grade science class, when I became interested in genetics (a topic normally covered at a superficial level in the regular curriculum). My teacher had a particular interest in Cystic Fibrosis and similar genetic diseases - and I can undoubtedly say that this is what sparked my interest in the area and inspired my post-secondary specialization in genetics and immunology at UBC. My experience at Point Grey Mini School, in all academic areas, was constantly delivered in an engaging way that made class time fun. It is one thing to be taught something, but it is something completely different to be excited to learn about something. I even have a distinct memory of being disappointed that it was Friday because it meant I didn’t get to come to school the next day.

Outside of school, the Mini is also a place that exposed me to opportunities that I probably would not have considered had I not been in the program. The culture in the Mini was not obsessed with popularity and image, as some school environments are. This allowed students to follow whatever weird hobby or activity they liked without judgement. For me specifically, this was ultimate frisbee – a sport constantly criticized for “not being a sport”. What started as a fun after-school game with friends eventually turned into a passion that has taken me across the world to Ireland, Italy, and England for competition as part of the Canadian National Team. And while it may have been sports for me, it was also bird photography for someone, and computer programming for someone else. Where you might have otherwise been called a criticized for your hobbies, you were celebrated for your quirky interests and for not being so “normal”.

I have heard stories of the awkward, painful years spent by many in high school and feel fortunate to have never experienced them. To this day, I look back at my time in the Mini School program with such a feeling of warmth that I am almost immediately saddened by the realization that I will likely never be able to find such a sense of home within an establishment again. In my mind, the Mini embodies everything that is good about education. Having now been a student of large, sterile lecture halls for three years now, I often find myself wishing I were back in the small, dusty portable classrooms of the mini where I was excited to learn and was more than just a number. Being a part of the Mini School Program was one of the best experiences of my life and undoubtedly owe more to it than I realize for making me into the person that I am today.
Victoria McCann
Victoria McCann