Testimonies From PG Mini Alumni

Beth-Ann Helgason - Class of 2013

December 31, 2016

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

At the risk of sounding cliche, I have to start by saying that being a part of Point Grey Mini was the most influential experience of my life so far. A tightly-knit community of peers with vastly different backgrounds, cultures, and socio-economic situations who are all passionate as students and individuals is not a community that is easy to come by, so to spend five formative years in that environment is something that invariably has a lasting impact. I know that I would not be where I am today, or who I am today, if it had not been for the Mini. For me, the Mini created an environment in which I was constantly both supported and challenged. I would not have left high school with the skills that I did had it not been for this environment. Point Grey Mini surrounds motivated students with teachers who know them personally and peers that share their passion, and it is this combination that pushes students outside their boundaries both academically and personally.

As a university student who has studied within Canada and internationally, I have compared high school experiences with many of my peers, and have yet to find someone who recalls a high school experience that was as transformative as my own. For Mini-school students, many elements of the Mini are influential, your personal relationships with your teachers, your extracurricular opportunities, but more than anything your peers. As a kid who had grown up in a long-time-Canadian family living on the westside of Vancouver, the Mini gave me the opportunity to meet other motivated students whose backgrounds differed hugely from my own. If it weren’t for the Mini’s diverse group of students, I would never have become so close with a group of people with such diverse cultural and economic backgrounds, and I would be a much more sheltered person than I am today.

The way that the Mini nurtures its students' interests has an enduring impact on their lives. Since graduating from the Mini, I have created and coordinate a mentoring program at my university based on the mentoring program my classmates and I started within the Mini. I am currently studying as an international student at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, an opportunity that I sought out because I wanted to learn from other students with different cultural backgrounds — exactly what I valued so much in the Mini. In the coming year, I will be completing my undergraduate psychology honours thesis on the topic of team leadership, an interest of mine that was fostered by the leadership opportunities I was given within the Mini. Long after graduation, the impact that Point Grey Mini has had on me will endure.

As my Mini classmates and I reach the end of our undergraduate degrees, we joke that all we are searching for in our careers is to find the environment that we had in the Mini — a community of like-minded peers, passionate about what they do, who are constantly supporting and challenging each other. I have yet to find anywhere else like Point Grey Mini, but after experiencing it once I will never stop looking.
Beth-Ann Helgason
Beth-Ann Helgason