The first class of graduates from Brookes Westshore spell out their grad year ‘2019’ in the school’s courtyard.

New beginnings: Brookes Westshore’s first graduates embarking upon a global future

Students became integrated into the fabric of Colwood community in school’s first year here

You’ve likely seen many of them around the community, whether it’s picking up a snack at the Royal Roads Cafe, working out in the fitness facility at the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre, or playing golf at Olympic View.

Soon enough, however, many of the 52 Grade 12’s in Brookes Westshore’s first graduation class will be moving on to pursue even higher learning. After taking part in the Colwood school’s International Baccalaureate program, the grads have secured post-secondary placement in B.C. and beyond, says head of school, Jerry Salvador.

“They’ve done very well, placing into many different universities in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe,” he says. “Of note is that a couple of our students received an $85,000 scholarship to study at UBC.”

Grads fully prepared for higher learning

Through studying at an IB school, with its criteria-based examination standards, students enter university well prepared for the pace and academic challenges they’ll face, Salvador says. The fact universities are familiar with IB’s uniform standards contributes greatly to IB students’ extremely high rate of acceptance into post-secondary institutions worldwide.

An even mix of locals and international students

The decision was made before Brookes Westshore opened to have an equal number of local or otherwise Canadian students as non-Canadians, Salvador says, as a way to mix cultures and enhance international understanding. Doing so better prepares graduates for careers and life in a global environment, he adds.

“Studying in this setting, and receiving an International Baccalaureate education, does open the door for them and it creates more globally minded kids. They’re open and they can study anywhere. I think it makes them open to looking more broadly at their options for the future.”

Students blend into Colwood neighbourhood

Through this first school year, students at Brookes’ Sooke Road campus have become integrated into the local community. They’ve partnered with neighbour Royal Roads University on projects, used the fields, swimming pool and other facilities at West Shore Parks and Recreation, and travelled the nearby Galloping Goose Trail to and from school.

“We get a lot of feedback,” Salvador says. He points to Colwood Mayor Rob Martin’s recent comment that having students around that section of the city has prompted more residents to get out walking in the area. “We’re helping create more of a feeling that people can live here and participate in their community, ” Salvador adds.

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Brookes Westshore is part of an international education group with schools in the U.K., U.S.A., India, Russia and South Korea. If you’d like to find out how your young learner could benefit from its programs, contact them via email or call 250-929-0506 to arrange a tour. You can also follow Brookes Westshore on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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Brookes Westshore Head of School Jerry Salvador speaks to the graduating class of 2019, their families and special guests during graduation ceremonies at the school in Colwood May 24. Photo by Lucy Kenneally

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