Richmond, BC | Grades 10 - 12 | Shortlist
I transferred to Maple Leaf - China from a public school in Canada in 2009. Back then, the school was called Maple Leaf International School, which is a little different from the Maple Leaf World Schools - Canada now. However, I do believe that the spirit of this school exists perpetually, regardless of where it is located or what it is called. Frankly speaking, I used to dislike attending group events, and focus almost only on my own studies and life, but after I came here, I was always being encouraged to participate in various in-class and extracurricular activities. These were precious opportunities that other public schools couldn’t provide, and I received a lot of inspiration and support along the way. It was these experiences that helped me build the confidence and courage to challenge new things. Although there were few elective options offered by Maple Leaf 10 years ago, I believe as time has passed, a wider selection of courses is now made available to the students. Like how the school motto says, striving for global learning and educational excellence, studying at Maple Leaf guided me to establish a clearer goal for the future, and at the same time, I am grateful for the efforts that the school has done to pave the way for its students. Choosing Maple Leaf was a life-changing decision that I would never regret — as we often say, from Maple Leaf to the World, “you know where you are going.”
With its unique administration system, Maple Leaf has guaranteed its students with strong backing and supports. Take counsellors as an example: normally, there would only be 2 or 3 counsellors in charge of the entire school, and students often need to book appointments with them in order to get advice. In contrast, counsellors at Maple Leaf were assigned by the number of homerooms, and they always took the initiative to care for students rather than the other way around. Such a responsible attitude gives students a high sense of security; at the same time, it also creates a good environment for the students to study and to develop themselves. They would respect and encourage students to be unique. They would stand out as soon as a problem occurs. Moreover, by listening to all aspects of a story, they would make fair judgements and decisions while ensuring no one's self-esteem being harmed. During my study at Maple Leaf, I deeply felt the counsellors' and teachers' concerns for students, which prompted me to grow a strong sense of belonging to the school.
The school sets up classes in relatively small sizes, hence increasing student participation and activating the classroom atmosphere. It becomes easier for students to get their instructor’s attention and assistance, for, in such an environment, teachers are able to gain a deeper understanding of their pupils, and therefore to encourage each student in accordance with their distinct personalities. Teachers at Maple Leaf, based on my own experience, are full of energy and passion. They are not only knowledgeable about the subject they teach, but also willing to devote time and effort into communicating course matters more effectively. For example, many of my teachers have diversified teaching methods that mobilize students' motivation, and create peer pressure through various group or even class-to-class interactions, allowing everyone to compete and make progress together. This relaxing yet demanding class environment motivated me to voluntarily learn and make progress.
Maple Leaf School offers a thorough range of curriculum options, as well as detailed guidance for its students throughout their time at school. It would, well in advance, begin to support students in establishing their academic objectives (and in some cases, even career goals). Compared with students from other schools, often those from Maple Leaf tend to have a clearer plan for their future. On top of that, the academic atmosphere of Maple Leaf further increases students' awareness of competition, such that the ones who come out of this environment have the capability to better adapt to university life. The great thing about Maple Leaf is that students who are yet to establish their future goals would be inspired to search for possibilities, whereas for students who already know which way to go, the school would supply them with rich resources to pave their roads. Before, I was a student full of confusion about my future; I was so introverted and always kept a low profile. Nevertheless, through participating in classroom and extracurricular activities, I gradually found my most interesting area, and generally decided on the universities and faculties I wished to apply to. I think these are the advantages that no other schools can imitate. In other words, this is what makes Maple Leaf outstanding. Although it is now disadvantaged at prestige and popularity (because of its young age in Canada), I do believe that as it steps more into the public’s eyes, its strengths will be further discovered by people.
One unique perspective about the "Maple Leafers" is that they all have their own personalities and ideas; each of them has distinct virtues and would tend to live a more brilliant life. I suppose this is the outcome of the diverse on/off-campus activity opportunities provided by the school. By that, I don't mean the general club and/or event opportunities that every other school provides. What I’d like to emphasize is the actual ways in which students could participate. For instance, during my time at public school, despite how much propagation I heard about clubs and talent shows, I always felt hesitant in expressing myself and thus chose not to participate at all. However, when I came to Maple Leaf, club members treated newcomers with an encouraging attitude, and sometimes the teachers would even “trick” students into joining competitions or performances, just to enjoy and experience something novel. Through the process of attempting and conquering challenges, I gradually became aware of my qualities and potential. Meanwhile, I established stronger self-confidence, developed better leadership skills, and discovered more life objectives. It is the tolerance, trust and recognition that have motivated many “marginal students” like me to dare step out of a comfort zone. Furthermore, these cultivation and influences during high school, as I now consider, are the keys that make everyone shine in their future life.
I am currently engaged in an education-related job, so while working, I have met many students from various Maple Leaf campuses. Whether it is my contemporaries or the younger generations, I’d always see the distinctive Maple Leaf Spirit in them. Like I said previously, Maple Leaf students tend to be more thoughtful and characteristic. They are quite adept at critical thinking and are generally well-planned for their own future. Compared with a typical high school student, Maple Leaf students actually look more mature and rational. Presumably, this has to do with their diversified experiences during their time at the School. In terms of the academic and living atmosphere, Maple Leaf is always welcoming its students with an attitude of inclusiveness. Through many aspects, it increases the students’ abilities to discover and strengthen themselves. Indeed, Maple Leaf World Schools — or the Maple Leaf Educational Systems in general — is still young in comparison with some other institutes. Nonetheless, even in just a short period of 25 years, it has already fostered so many brilliant students who excel in all walks of life, all around the world. I think this is exactly a manifestation of the Maple Leaf Spirit: be diligent and knowledgeable, be enterprising and striving for the highest.
The days at Maple Leaf are one of my best memories. Even to date, I sometimes still dream of becoming a high school student again. When I was studying at Maple Leaf, I chose to be a boarding student. The school offered a peaceful living and learning environment, enhancing my capabilities to be independent, as well as supporting me to acquire better self-organization and time-management skills. The accommodation environment was clean and safe. It serves as a forum for students to further socialize and likewise promotes the awareness of teamwork and collaboration spirit amongst themselves. In addition, it took advantage of peer support and pressure to facilitate everyone’s competitiveness, thus laying the foundation for its students to enter the society, preparing them with the abilities to be able to quickly adapt and integrate into different communities in the future.
The graduates of Maple Leaf spread all over the world, with their footprints found from North America all the way to Australia. They are blooming with their own brilliance in every perspective, but whether it is a student, alumnus or even a parent, they are all members of the greater Maple Leaf network. The Maple Leafers have always maintained close contact, constantly exchanging experiences and supporting each other. Sometimes, we would organize reunion parties, and other times, we would come back to visit our teachers. Years after graduation, I still continue to come across alumni who have made achievements in different industries, and during my work for Maple Leaf, I also encountered many outstanding current students. I am truly proud of being a Maple Leafer.
Although I have not personally studied or lived in today's new campus, I am quite familiar with the city of Richmond, where the KPU campus is located. It is a peaceful and prosperous city, and the campus is situated in a relatively central part of town, making travel and life very convenient. At the same time, the advantage of Maple Leaf World Schools - Canada is that its campuses are built alongside well-known universities. This would enable the students to intuitively experience the university atmosphere as early as grade 10, hence having an authentic image of what their post-secondary life may look like.
In my opinion, I did not encounter many difficulties during the application process. The admissions department of Maple Leaf School was very enthusiastic and conscientious. They supplied my parents and me with as much information as possible regarding the “must-knows” (e.g., the basic grade requirements, school and living atmosphere, possibilities after graduation and so on). I received greetings from them even after I already enrolled in the school, ensuring that I was able to adapt to the transfer and get used to studying and living on campus. This kind of warmth was something I had not experienced when I was in public school. Maple Leaf is good at letting its students discover their strengths; it encourages them to explore and try, while rendering timely and appropriate assistance, such that students would grow strong sense of security and belonging.
Maple Leaf attaches great importance to students' academic development and planning. As I mentioned earlier, most of the Maple Leaf students are more sensible and tend to not be as confused or indecisive about the future as most high school students might be. Having studied at a place that focuses on fostering students' own capacities and qualities, those who graduate would have a striving spirit that certainly differs from others. As it comes to the support for university application, I actually feel a sense of superiority about what Maple Leaf provides for its students. When the application season starts, the gymnasium of Maple Leaf Schools would always be filled with booths from world-renowned universities. This annual event, named University Fair, provides the most direct interaction platform. Unlike the usual way of attending presentations and writing emails for further inquiries, this event allows the students to communicate face-to-face with the admissions officers from universities they are applying to. On the other hand, whether students need assistance on their application process or guidance on writing their personal essays, Maple Leaf is always prepared with professional consultants to provide support right in time. From comprehensive presentations to the interviews between the university representatives and students, these hardcore resources are what my friends from other schools envied the most. Taking it to the next level, the school organizes winter and summer tours regularly, enabling its students to actually visit the famous universities and colleges in North America. This gives them the opportunity to walk with their own feet, see with their own eyes the place where they might spend their future four years at. The Maple Leaf International Schools - China yet has such an astonishing capacity, you can imagine what to expect from the Maple Leaf World Schools - Canada. Ordinary high schools only hold a few lectures for the purpose of applicational assistance for their grads. On the contrary, Maple Leaf has insisted on cultivating personal development ever since students entered the school. It is determined to enhance students' abilities to thrive in universities, and oftentimes, even beyond the academic level. Thanks to Maple Leaf, it was a relatively easy run for me from starting my application all the way to being accepted to UBC; furthermore, I have now smoothly transitioned to work and life after graduation. To students who are looking for an ideal school, why not consider Maple Leaf World Schools? Wish you all a bright future. Good Luck!