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Well-rounded education

The perfect balance

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Many kids don't know what appeals to them until they try something for the very first time. High school offers the perfect opportunity to develop passions and interests that will encourage improved enjoyment and balance throughout a person's life.

"It's important that we don't put too much focus on academic success that students lose the opportunity to achieve well-rounded development in other areas," says Patricia Donnelly, Headmistress of Nova Scotia's Sacred Heart School of Halifax.

Whenever they join the environmental club, the debating team, the choir, student council or the film society, Sacred Heart students are awarded silver and gold pins for their extracurricular involvement.

"Being able to bring a mix of skills to whatever project you're working on is a huge asset. It is said that people who will make the biggest difference in the world will have a varied CV [Curriculum Vitae], with strengths all over the place and the vision to bring them all together."

A well-rounded education at University of Toronto Schools means finding a balance between classroom studies, advanced placement opportunities, sports teams, music and arts programs, school government, event planning and social activism.

"We spend a lot of time here trying to figure out how to help our students achieve a healthy life balance," says Michaele Robertson, principal of University of Toronto Schools. "So many of these kids are driven to do so much-both academic and extracurricular-but what's most important is that they learn to take on only what they can handle."

Somewhere in between, students also need to find time to hang out with their friends.

"The most important life lesson they'll gain from all of this is learning to make a commitment and stick to it, and learning when they have to say no," says Robertson.

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