REVIEW OF Bodwell High School BY Alum, Michael Mushauri
- Date of Review
January 24, 2024
- Grades (year)
Gr. 10 - Gr. 12 (2014 - 2016)
- University (major)
Capilano University (Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Psychology)
(4.5) Overall Experience
My first experience at Bodwell High School was as a culture and academic exchange student coming from Zimbabwe. I was traveling with the Zimbabwe Under 16 National Basketball team for a 2-week program to promote relations between Zimbabwe and Bodwell High School. I don’t hesitate to say I was wowed at the very first instance. From the welcome we got from the Bodwell hosting team from the minute we got off the plane till the very point we were boarding, it was all respect and honor among each other. I did not have to think twice if I wanted to attend the school. Before I left I had already initiated my application process. A few months later I was back at the same school, ready to become part of the warm family I had met earlier and had taught me one thing, treat everyone with respect regardless of background or knowledge of who the other person is.
(4) School Leadership
The school leadership at Bodwell is very attentive and assertive when it comes to goal setting and goal achievement. There were multiple ongoing platforms which would ensure there was transparency between the students, school leadership and administration. Any rising conflicts within or between students, leadership and administration were dealt with sternly and fairly. They had a very inclusive governing system that would allow a democratic method of choosing the student parliament. There were few cases of misconduct, and when one occurred the administration would be sure to set an example so as not to have a repeat case but also try to reform the students to conduct better next time.
The teaching style at Bodwell was up-to-date with technology. We had good interactive platforms we used for assignments, quizzes and some of the in-class work. Other reading and operating materials were also provided. The instructions came as clear as they could and could be easily rectified on a one-on-one basis as the student-to-teacher ratio was low. The biggest classes were about 15 students per class. The teaching staff also tried modern ways of teaching that would increase student attention span and would also ignite interest in learning hence leading to students grasping the concept faster. The methods would include but not be limited to field trips, and class projects that involved simulation and application of concepts into real-life world. People would understand social studies better through the videos we watched during class.
The academic program at Bodwell was rich and accommodating. Students would be issued a Dogwood Diploma at the end of graduating Grade 12. From Grade 10 students start curating their classes and schedules to best fit their plan for post-secondary school. The academics at the school were quite competitive, everyone wanted to be the best hence that was a healthy push/pull factor to study and work hard. Better performing, excelling and improving students were rewarded weekly during assembly and overall during prize-giving day at the end of each semester. Bodwell also offered some Advanced Placement classes for those willing to partake. The school had 3 semesters a year but if balanced well you could take the summer semester off. The coursework was not hard but it just required one to be able to keep up with the workload and curriculum, otherwise procrastinating would only lead to average or below average performance as most students will be coming from different countries with different curricula. Being attentive in class helped me a lot to align the 2 syllabi I had been through in Zimbabwe and Canada.
Extracurriculars were of the same importance and value both to the administration and students. Every student was recommended to have at least one extracurricular that will at the end of the semester be stamped in the report card. Besides the weekly required commitments, there were a lot of other non-school related programs such as going to the movies on the weekend and even group cooking in the school kitchen.
Student body was slightly above 500 coming from more than 20 countries and with every ethnicity appropriately represented. The “majority” group would be Asians and would still have different languages and dialects. With such a mixed bunch, it's always hard to cling to old practices but rather reform and adapt to the current situation. Adapting would then mean having to bond with unfamiliar groups faster and foster a relationship in which all bodies would realize one goal, unite and learn. Our differences made us closer because it would mean each student would be more vulnerable alone but rather stronger in a group. The whole school was one big family or team seeking the same enlightenment. You would find that most students who did service for the school that is competing in extracurricular activities for the school or volunteer would earn more respect as they would even have unique distinguishing uniforms to show their service, pride and honour.
(4.5) School Life
The student life at Bodwell is somewhat comfortable such that if one's discipline is not up to par, the possibility of relaxing and dropping grades is actually there. All resources needed for the well-being of a student were at one's disposal. The cafeteria served adequate delicious meals and they always tried to mix it up and not monotonous by serving different themed dishes. Other downtime activities were there, such as a game room, play area, cooking area and so forth. One could mistake going there for a retreat, instead, you would need to be motivated to work by the incentives in place. Students were seldom stressed but being away from family at a young age could affect one's performance. Several programs were in place to help mental wellness remain a priority among students and staff. An open-door policy was offered by the counseling personnel anytime to anyone in need. First-time interactions are often awkward among teenagers, hence other students would keep to themselves and not participate in non-compulsory events but I found those to be good for pressure release, even bonding with fellow colleagues.
The community at Bodwell High School is inclusive and family-oriented. I believe it comes from the grassroots and the fact that the school is a product of a family-run organization. The principles by which the community was built are still the ones it still runs by. The principles include love, compassion, empathy and diversity. Bodwell had a House system in which each House would represent a principle and would run by it. Each student was enlisted in a single House named after world phenomenal people. I still remember there was Gandhi, Mandela and Martin Luther King. The school alumni community is still growing and finding its strides to become a stronghold. I believe the first annual formal Alumni reunion was hosted in 2023 on a cruise ship in an attempt to fully engage students and allow participation in school development.
(4.5) School Location
The school is located in North Vancouver right by the Harborside. Seagulls and cargo ships docking are a common sighting. The school is a walking distance from Capilano Mall and several other areas in case one requires any additional amenities. It's easily accessible by transit. Connection to other transport methods such as ferry, train or airport are user friendly as well. North Vancouver is a more quiet and peaceful district. The demographic is mostly made up of pensioners. The neighborhood is very helpful as that is where most Homestays are located, so one should not be hesitant to ask around for help when lost or in need.
The application process is straightforward and clear to follow. All requirements are clearly stated and I advise one to provide more than required, some additional information might end up getting extra credits and eligibility for some of the scholarships offered at Bodwell High School. When I was applying, as I was communicating with the recruiting agent, they advised me to include some of the accolades I had received in Zimbabwe as supporting documents and that ended up earning me a partial scholarship which came in handy as moving from halfway around the globe was just going to be as costly. Furthermore, I was even linked to the pioneer Zimbabwean students who were then learning at Bodwell who gave me some of the tiny gritty inroads they had missed in their initial move. I was very much grateful for the transition, I had an idea of what to expect.
(4.5) University placement and counselling
I did not want to change cities for my post-secondary education. I guess it was a blessing for me as the counselors were familiar with my first-choice university (Capilano University) admission officers. I got the chance to go for in-person counseling at the prospective school while still at Bodwell. It gave a whole human touch to the whole process and felt more personal and connected. Other schools would come for career guidance and present their schools. I had sort of simulated my going to Capilano University so when it came to decision making it was quite easy. I had even gotten early admission into the program of my choice as well. It was as if they were sister schools.