Back from Shad Valley 0
Austin Lubitz, of Bishop Smith Catholic High School, and Emma Sypes, from Fellowes High School, have just returned from participating in the award-winning Shad Valley program in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The high school seniors found the initiative an enriching and challenging program.
Two Pembroke high school students have spent their summer broadening their horizons with the award-winning Shad Valley program.
Austin Lubitz, from Bishop Smith Catholic High School, and Emma Sypes, of Fellowes High School, were among 500 students selected nationwide to participate in the initiative which centers on fusing innovation and entrepreneurship with science and technology.
The two spent July at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton where they pushed their creative and intellectual capacity to the limit. The four-week residential program is promoted through Shad Valley International, a charitable not-for-profitable organization headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario.
Students who are high achieving, talented and driven are chosen. Through the application process, they must show that they are passionate about making a difference and having an impact on the world.
The participants are immersed in workshops, lectures, and project development. However, their time is balanced with recreational activities that increase self-confidence and develop such skills as problem solving, effective communication, leadership and teamwork.
Ms. Sypes noted that the program encourages the students to open their minds and explore new career opportunities.
“They tried to expose us to every kind of career choice and different fields,” she said. “They made it seem like the options were limitless.”
Mr. Lubitz, who is the first Bishop student to enroll in Shad Valley, remarked that he was impressed with the scope of career possibilities adding it has boosted his confidence.
“It’s an excellent program,” he said. “I am more determined and more focused now.”
They also took the chance to meet and network with students from all walks of life and backgrounds. Ms. Sypres said they worked together as a team to finish many of the goals and objects that their program facilitators set out to complete.
“It was pretty inspiring to see all these accomplished kids,” she said. “They pushed you to come back and want to do more here.”
The program is hosted at 10 Canadian universities and is supported by 100 companies and organizations. One of the guest speakers was Dr. David Scott, an associate professor of sport psychology in the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of New Brunswick. He has also been a consultant with several NHL teams including the Florida Panthers, the Vancouver Canucks, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Montreal Canadiens.
“He gave us the confidence that we can go out and push the boundaries,” said Ms. Sypes.
Another guest speaker was a Canadian engineer who was working on the Mars Curiosity Rover which landed on the surface of the Red Planet last weekend.
“He had the time to come speak to us even though this Mars rover was about to land,” remarked Mr. Lubitz.
While the lectures and workshops were rewarding, the two enjoyed the field trips to the Bay of Fundy, where their tents were flooded during an overnight camping trip, the Hopewell Rocks and St. Andrews-By-The-Sea.
“It was a life changing experience,” concluded Mr. Lubitz. “I couldn’t imagine anything better that I would want to do for my summer.”
Sean Chase is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist