As we begin to settle into the routine of a new school year, we wanted to check in with some of our 2019 Grads to see how THEY are adapting to their new, post-secondary lives. Last year, 100% of our grads were accepted into post-secondary institutions, and for the next couple of weeks we'll be highlighting some of their journeys.
First up, Sierra Kolodziej.
1. Tell us your Aberdeen Hall story.
I attended Aberdeen Hall from Kindergarten until grade 1. After grade 1 I moved back to Chicago (where I was born) because of my dad’s job. I stayed there for grade 2 and grade 3 and then we made the long trip back to Kelowna, where I studied at Aberdeen until I graduated from grade 12 year last year. My parents and grandparents are very involved in the school and as a family, the decision was made that my two siblings and I would attend Aberdeen Hall because of the amazing teachers, the individualized attention, smaller class sizes and the amazing atmosphere. They had the desire for us to be happy and successful and felt this was the best path for us to achieve our goals.
2. What was your favourite part about attending Aberdeen Hall?
My favourite part about attending Aberdeen Hall was that everyone knew everyone. It was such a small school when I first joined in Kindergarten and even though I was among the youngest students, I felt like I had an instant family. Every day when I would walk down the hallways the thing that I looked forward to the most was seeing the teachers smiling and laughing and everyone having a good time. Then I would go to my homeroom, sit down and basically vent to my homeroom teacher (who is one of the best teachers that I have ever had and will ever have) about anything going on in my life. Being a part of a community that is so connected in the way that Aberdeen Hall is - was incredible. Participating in team sports was also a major part of my time at Aberdeen Hall. Being encouraged to share my skills both on and off the field instilled confidence and reinforced the sense of community I already felt within the school. Athletics strengthened my relationships with my peers and encouraged me to want to become a PE teacher.
3. How would you describe a typical Aberdeen Hall Graduate?
My grad class was not just a group of people all trying to graduate, we were more than that, we were a family. We spent long mornings and nights together and we really were one big cohesive group. My grad class was fairly athletic and we supported one another in our various sporting events. Our class was also very academically inclined and many of us worked hard to achieve honour roll standing and every student was able to get into the university or college that they wanted to. Our grad class was sometimes a bit of a handful for the teachers but we all loved each other and we would do anything for any one of our friends.
4. What did you do this summer?
My summer felt pretty short because I left the last week of July for university. Before I left, I worked almost full-time at the EnergyPlex. I also went on a family trip to Chicago to visit some family. They threw me a Graduation Party where I was fortunate to receive some money that went straight to my university tuition! :) I worked out almost every day to get in shape for pre-season soccer training in August, and I spent countless hours with my best friend almost every day before I left.
5.Where are you attending post-secondary? What program are you currently in? What extracurriculars are you involved in (or what activities do you plan to be involved in later in the year)?
I am attending the University of Regina in Saskatchewan where I am enrolled in the KinEd joint degree program. The University of Regina is one of the few institutions that offers the KinEd program which spans 5 years and culminates with degrees in both Kinesiology and Education. My goal is to be a Physical Education teacher with a minor in Math. I am also on the University of Regina’s womens’ soccer team, so most of my “free” time consists of lifting weights at the gym or kicking the ball around the field. With this said, I’m also trying to find time to be on the intramural volleyball team and I’d like to be a school ambassador next year and help lead our school events.
6.If you are away from home, what’s that like? What was your first day of University like? Your first week?
I’m not going to lie, being away from home is hard, but once I found a routine it got a lot better. My mom flew out to Regina with me to help me move and after 5 days I said my ‘goodbyes’ and I was on my own. My first day of university was very exciting - overall I was super excited to start school. On the first day I only had one class for 50 minutes which was nice, and then after that class I was off to Winnipeg with the soccer team.
7. What advice would you give to someone in Middle or High School who was thinking about coming here but wasn’t sure?
I would say, ‘if you are unsure, go have a tour and try it out for a day!’ Aberdeen Hall is the most accepting community that I have ever been a part of and I made so many friends there. I would say, ‘don’t be scared because everyone has been in the same place that you are in and they know how you feel. Everyone at Aberdeen will greet you with a smile and you will be recognized and a part of the community very quickly.’