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Grades 8 TO 12 — North Vancouver, BC (Map)

Bodwell High School:

Roundtable Q&A Discussion About Bodwell High School (2020)

Bodwell High School alumni, current students, and parents shared their insights on the school’s culture, values, strengths, and weaknesses. Hear what Shawn Galey, Ginger had to say about the school.

Video Contents

Highlights from the Q&A discussion

Shawn Galey — alum

Shawn attended Bodwell High School for four years, and Graduated in 2019 as Prime Minister of the school. Shawn valued the international community, which allowed him to make lifelong friends and connections across the globe. Shawn now attends the University of British Columbia, where he studies engineering and physics.

  • “I'd say one thing I appreciated both during high school, and now that I am able to reflect on it, is without a doubt just the diversity of the school, which is a defining factor of [Bodwell High School] ... the range and the people that I've been able to meet has been beyond imagination. It's been something that I've only been able to find at Bodwell thus far. It's been a unique experience, that in my year away from Bodwell High School at this point, I can really look back on it's value. It's something that gives me a unique experience that no one around me really has had the opportunity to have.”
  • “It's just been incredible to have such good connections around the world. That's definitely been one thing that I'm able to appreciate now that I've been able to step away from Bodwell High School. … But even during, it's something that I could tell was valuable. It's not something that becomes apparent after the fact. Even during, I could tell that this is something that I’ve never had before in my life.”
  • “[Bodwell High School] was just truly a unique experience. The aspect of diversity is probably the biggest thing I appreciate about the school.”
  • “It's interesting because [students] get to meet all these people for about a year, or however long they're at Bodwell High School, a lot of them end up going back home … . There's still so many people [from Bodwell High School] that I'm able to keep in touch with, whether they're from somewhere else in Canada currently, or they're studying in the U.K.. One of my friends is in Austria right now studying, and we still keep in touch. These are human connections that you won't just let go, because they become so close during your time [at Bodwell Highschool]. ... Even though you end up splitting off into different locations and different walks of life, if you put in the effort to keep in touch with people, as I have, you'll definitely make some lifelong connections.”
  • “If you were in a room with people talking about an issue, and they were all from the same place, having had the same experience with an issue, you could have a pretty monotonic conversation, whereas at Bodwell High School you have people with so many differing opinions, you have people with different experiences. And that's just something that is just so characteristic of Bodwell High School, that can only be found there. And it's been quite an interesting experience.”
  • “The proof that Bodwell High School has its own standing as a school, and has its own identity, is the fact that now that I'm in university I get to meet an abundance of people. … I can truly look back and say that not one person that I've met has had the same, or even a similar experience to the one I've had at [Bodwell High School]. That alone tells you a lot that clearly there's something to gain from this school, as I have.”
  • “I thought a good word to describe Bodwell High School if it were a person, would be accepting. The reason for that is, everyone comes from different backgrounds. There's no two people in the same room that have exactly the same story. There is no room for exclusion, no room for discrimination. We're all equal in that sense. If [Bodwell High School] was a person, it would be a very accepting person, who enjoys the differences between people.”
  • “I think there's also in many ways, [acceptance] happens, just by virtue of there being such a diverse student body. If somehow the school didn't allow [international students], it would just collapse, it just wouldn't make any sense. One thing that I found at Bodwell [High School] is that, no matter what room you step into, or what group of friends that you have, they’re going to be from different parts of the world and they're going to have different stories.”
  • “I remember at the student parliament [at Bodwell High School] you're hardly able to make a suggestion without really having to critically think about it, because nothing will just get brushed aside. There is going to be such a vast amount of opinion and thought in the room, so you really have to think about what you're proposing. And so in that sense, it forces you to consider other sides that you've never been exposed to before.”
  • “I suppose the degree of independence that the child or that their child will receive [at Bodwell High School] can be surprising [to parents], because it will be most likely more than anything their child has experienced in their life. So, it's going to be a new situation for the child, and they're going to have a high degree of autonomy. … I've seen so many friends grow truly, immensely as a result of their time in Bodwell High School, and inherently from the independence that they received during their time there. I've seen it happen to countless amounts of my friends, who come to Bodwell High School as one person, and leave as a completely other person, having been subject to an experience where they're accountable for themselves.”
  • “If I could advise one thing for new students, I would tell them to be mindful, that one day you're going to end up reflecting on and looking back on the experiences that you're about to go into and about to embark on. So make it count while you can, and explore the opportunities that are there. I guarantee you, there are many … . I've been lucky enough to have experienced a few of those opportunities [at Bodwell High School] myself. There are so many opportunities around you, make it count, make some good friends, make some networks.”
  • “The transition from high school to university is generally a huge transition for many people. I came into university from Bodwell [High School], where the students experienced a high level of independence … . In many ways, I was already surrounded by people who have already gained these degrees of freedom [at Bodwell High School]. ... The transition to university wasn't overwhelming for me, because I was surrounded by people who have made similar transitions. You honestly do become the sum of the people that are around you. So for that reason, it's been a good transition, at least for me.”

Ginger — current parent

Ginger has a daughter that currently attends Bodwell High School. She is an international student from the US, and is embracing the independence that the boarding program provides her. She is currently Prime Minister of the student body, and hopes to pursue international relations for her post-secondary education.

  • “We're from the States and our public schooling system is perhaps not what we were hoping for it to be. And I thought that [my daughter] was not thriving anymore at school. She was a child that loved school, and that turned into her hating school. She had perfect attendance, whether she was sick or not, she just did not love it anymore. It was beating her down. I wanted [my daughter] to love school again. And she does. She loves it. She's having an amazing year. She's had an amazing two years prior to that at [Bodwell High School].”
  • “I'm so happy that we chose [Bodwell High School]. One of the bonuses from Bodwell High School ... was the community, the international community. The representation there is from countries that our current government does not 100% agree with or 100% have peace with.”
  • “It's wonderful for [my daughter] to go to school with people from all around the world and especially from countries like China and Russia, where perhaps some folks in our local community may not understand the students and the people from those countries. ... And I think it's just amazing that she's able to kind of start these international relations now. That's going to be the field that she goes into, because of Bodwell.”
  • “I really wanted [my daughter] to go to a [school] where she can not be taught what to think, and how to think. I feel especially this year [at Bodwell High School], she has some fantastic instructors that have a university background, and they are really challenging her. She loves it. She's always been concerned about, ‘what did I get on the test?’ And now she's learning how to think more critically, and that's going to open up all kinds of opportunities for her.”
  • “The counseling department, [my daughter’s] counsellor, has been amazing. She is my link to the school, my link to my daughter, and every question I have, I get answered. If she doesn't have the answer, she brings it to the next person. ... I've not had those conversations with staff at other schools that she's attended. Everybody's wonderful about answering anything.”
  • “Whether it's a small problem or big … everybody [at Bodwell High School] has been wonderful about answering questions, answering my questions, and giving proper feedback. Communication is key, especially when you're thousands of miles or kilometers away. You have to rely on the folks that have ‘boots on the ground,’ so to speak. The people who are there. I can 100% rely on everybody [at Bodwell High School].”
  • “Now my daughter is doing “homestay,” and she loves it. My daughter's homestay parent has been cooking wonderful meals, giving her wonderful breakfast, and she loves all the lunches. So that is definitely the biggest thing, because I want to make sure she's fed, she's housed, and clothed.”
  • “[My daughter’s] thriving. She loves school. She is back to being an academic. Whereas before [Bodwell High School], her grades were always good, but she was struggling to open up the books and be excited about what she was learning. She likes the course material better. It has also changed her outlook on what she wants to study when she goes to university. So she came in wanting to be a fashion designer, and within a few months she said she wanted to go into public policy. And then a few months later, she said she wanted to go into international policy and diplomacy.”
  • “I think it's because [students] are in a living situation, they’re on campus, [Bodwell High School] is educating the whole child. It's not only ‘let's just make sure you have good grades, and your English is at a level that you need for university’, it's not that at all. [Bodwell High School] is really educating the whole student. The school is involved in helping them learn how to build good interpersonal relationships.”
  • “In terms of clubs and the boarding activities, there was a great variety [at Bodwell High School]. There's gaming, there's sports, there was a GSA club. … I think it's wonderful that there are [options], because the folks at the school come from different backgrounds, different religions, and different cultures.”
  • “I feel like Bodwell High School helps [students]. The boarding staff is great about having conversations with students. ... Teens have friend problems, and they are able to work through that with [my daughter]. I think it's wonderful that [the teachers and staff at Bodwell High School] become surrogate parents. … I'm not physically there, but I trust her with the staff at Bodwell High School, and they've been great about having the students work through their typical teen problems.”
  • “I will fight for [my daughter], but I always want her to solve her problems herself first. She's always been very good about reaching out to staff and trying to solve things locally before picking up the phone to call me. I see this transformation. ... Her confidence when I left her in September, when I dropped her off … [my daughter] embodied confidence and independence. … She was dressed for success. So she exuded it from her energy. I can't give that to her here. It's from Bodwell [High School].”

More about Bodwell High School

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More video reviews

Alum, David Chen (2020)

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