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Barb Virtue enrolled her children at Rundle College in Calgary, Alberta after her son Kevin was assessed and found to be achieving far below his potential. “I decided to send him and his sister to Rundle College because of the small class sizes and attentive teachers,” Virtue says.

The Rundle curriculum also includes an engaging arts and drama program, and Kevin, who was just in Grade 12, was involved with the school play, Tom Jones. He worked on the production for months, after-school, building sets, directing scenes and ensuring the performance’s success.

“My husband and I were really impressed to see Kevin so passionate about something school-related,” says Virtue. “He’s not an athletic kid, so the sports teams have never interested him.”

Now, Kevin is considering a career in film production, and begins an arts degree program at the University of Victoria, British Columbia this fall.

Barb Levesque, an art teacher at Rundle, says many students develop a strong connection with the school because of its arts program. “And, the arts can also be incorporated with other areas of learning,” she says. “I often go with the students on science field trips and allow them the opportunity to sketch or paint what they are seeing.”

Each October, Rundle College hosts an annual Fine Arts Day, local artists, actors and musicians run workshops for the students. “You’ll find everything from drawing to painting to print-making to ceramics, dance, drumming and even magic,” says Levesque. “We never have to take attendance on this day because all of the students are so eager to participate.”

Diana Doublet, a Grade 12 student last year, says the school’s music classes and band program have allowed her to develop her passion. Since Grade 7, Diana has played in the school band, starting with the clarinet, later switching to the oboe. She plans to study music at university in the fall. “The music teachers here are wonderful,” Diana says. “I’ve had the chance to go to a couple of music camps with the band, and perform at local festivals and during school assemblies.”

—Hailey Eisen
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