It has been argued that in order to excel at something or become an expert in a particular discipline, it takes 10,000 hours of work and practice. That is no doubt a great deal of time, which at 2 hours per day would take 13 years to reach.
But for high school students at many Canadian boarding schools, the unique programs that are offered at these schools, teach every student about the dedication and discipline that is required to complete such a task.
An example of this took place on the Sedbergh School‘s campus during the weekend of February 12th and 13th.
The Canadian Ski Marathon (CSM) is a cross country skiing event, which covers a total of 160km (99.4194 miles) of cross country skiing over two days. That is the equivalent of skiing from New York City to Philadelphia over a weekend.
Joining approximately 7,000 other skiers, every Sedbergh student (many of which had never skied prior to coming to the school) took to the trails to push themselves to the limit and reach their maximum distance. Jahel, a grade 11 student from Angola was asked her views on the CSM and she said:
“The CSM eluded me from the very beginning. The thought of it terrified me. I had no idea what to expect. I just hoped that I was prepared enough. Once it started I realized that it wasn’t so bad. Having a ski buddy was great because I had someone to keep me going when I felt like giving up. The food at the end of the sections was great too. Seeing those red flags when I finally completed a section was one of the best feelings in the world.”
For her first time participating in the CSM, Jahel’s impressive 95.2km result is something that should be recognized, but what is also important is the preparation, dedication and practice that took her from a new cross country skier to completing almost 100kms. This is something that cannot be taught in the classroom, and as this is a mandatory event, all students get the opportunity to push themselves to their limit and learn these important values.
The CSM, and cross country skiing is very much a Sedbergh tradition, but many boarding schools across the country execute a variety of events and activities to prepare all of their students in much the same way.
Bishops College School hold’s has the oldest continually active Cadet programme in Canada. This compulsory program for all students provides immense dedication by all students and since it is primarily run by the Senior Cadets, progression through the ranks allows for exceptional opportunities for students to develop essential leadership skills.
A similar program is offered at King’s Edgehill School in Windsor, Nova Scotia, where a cadet corp of 330 cadets are organized into two Rifle companies and three Platoons each; a Band, a precision Drill Team, and a School Flag Party.
These programs take a great deal of regular preparation and training to run effectively and as a result, all students have the opportunity to grow as individuals outside of the classroom as well as in. Other examples include the rowing program at Brentwood College School, and the Hockey Program at Harrington College.
These are just a few examples of boarding school programs that in addition to high quality academic programs take “College/University Prep” outside of the classroom and challenge all students to participate, in order to develop essential life skills.
As discussed, it has been argued that it takes someone 10,000 hours to become an expert or to excel at something, and unfortunately your time in high school may not be long enough to reach that pinnacle.
Not every student is going to choose cross country skiing as their chosen path however; what these programs do is challenge every student and teach the skills that are necessary to reach that peak in whatever discipline they may choose.
About Cory Awde
Mr. Cory Awde, AdmissionsQuest’s first Canadian blogger. Mr. Awde is the Director of Marketing and Admissions at Sedbergh School, in Montebello, Quebec Canada. Before completing a MA in Communication at the University of Ottawa (MA, 2008), Cory held various roles within the recruitment and liaison office at his Alma Mater, Brock University (BSM, 2005).