Students enjoy quick trip to Vancouver Island’s universities

  • May. 21, 2010 11:00 a.m.

Submitted by QCSS-Planning 10 students from Queen Charlotte Secondary went on an educational expedition to Victoria and Nanaimo from May 5 to 9. We took advantage of Gwaii Trust’s funding for college and university Tours, and also got a grant from the Capital Commission in Victoria to help cover costs. We started with a bus ride to Masset, where a charter plane arranged by the extremely helpful and generous Mr. Spencer Smith of Pacific Coastal Airlines awaited us. After a beautiful flight down the stunning BC coast, we landed in Victoria, and got ready for three days of experience-expanding activities. We started our first morning negotiating the city bus system to the University of Victoria, where we burned billions of pixels photographing the herds of rabbits, then had two UVic students guide us around and through the classrooms, playing fields, residences and other facilities of that beautiful campus. After lunch at UVic, we took a city bus to the Legislature for our arranged tour. It was the first time many students had seen the magnificent architecture of the Victoria waterfront. We were admitted to the galleries, where we listened to discussion and questioning regarding a piece of “green” legislation introduced by the Minister of Forests.The class took advantage of the spectacular sunny afternoon to walk around the Inner Harbor and downtown before hiking to Chinatown, learning about its history, and ending an eventful day with an outstanding Chinese seafood banquet. We will never be intimidated by mandarin duck or lettuce wraps again!After an early wake-up on Friday, we took a chartered school bus up the island to Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, where we were very warmly welcomed by First Nation Student Services, and given a great tour by Dale Hunt and two enthusiastic student guides. Highlights included seeing the big sturgeon in the fisheries area, and the very impressive shops and labs used for VIU’s outstanding Trades programs. Students were also impressed by the many activities available for students, and by the endless opportunities for fitness training provided by the hundreds of stairs.On the way back to Victoria, we stopped in Chemainus, and students walked the length and breadth of the town looking at the famous murals, and appreciating how the small, formerly resource-based town is adapting to a new type of economy. Back on the bus, we passed the world’s largest hockey stick, and wished it had been available to Roberto Luongo. That evening, students and chaperones went to the huge Commonwealth Pool to enjoy their first swim of the summer.On Saturday morning, students were given the opportunity to test their sales resistance at the Mayfair Mall and a local guitar store before taking the city bus to the Provincial Museum. There, we gained a greater appreciation of our historical, natural and artistic heritage. Of special interest were the scale model of Skedans, the masks and regalia from up and down the coast, and the superb collection of Haida carving in argillite, silver and gold. In the evening, we attended the IMAX presentation of “Hubble”, and emerged with a better understanding of the universe. We ended the evening by seeing first-run movies in a real theatre. After another early wake-up, the expedition returned home on Sunday on our Pacific Coastal charter, carrying new insights, dirty clothes, fresh doughnuts, and fragrant flowers back to our moms for Mother’s Day. QCSS sponsors Jenna Perry, Steve Querengesser and Karl Puls would like to thank parent chaperones Helen McPhee and James Meszaros, Gwaii Trust, the Capital Commission, and Spencer Smith at Pacific Coastal for making this trip possible. Our students came back with a better understanding of our beautiful province, more savvy abut city life, and fired up to take advantage of the outstanding post-secondary educational opportunities they got to see first hand. Haaw’a!