Friday, 11 August 2017

Dare to Walk in the Forest!



Squad Atten-tion, Stand At Ease, Stand Easy.

The all too familiar commands I've gotten accustomed to with the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. My journey with the Air Cadets started just a little over a year ago, and yet the friends I have made and lessons I have been taught will certainly last a lifetime. I can’t begin to explain how impressed I am with not only the level of knowledge and discipline they have taught my peers and me, but also the wide array of diversity that I experience day after day with this fantastic program. Many assume that the air cadets is a boot camp or military academy, but really it’s an organization, that helps shape you and tailors your future. Before I joined the cadets organization I wasn't too sure about the structure of the program, despite having 4 cousins graduating as some of the highest ranking positions offered to cadets. It was only when I turned 12, I decided to attend the information night and learn more. Equipped with that newfound knowledge, I decided to enroll. And once I did, there was no turning back.The Tuesday night meetings are epic, nights filled with friends, aviation, drill and for those who want more, there is the in-house band and even the public speaking and debating team. There are so many platforms to do absolutely anything you want,  I got the freedom to choose and pursue my passion.

Opportunities regularly present themselves to cadets and with them we learn how to excel. My squadron gave me the opportunity to put my speaking skills to the test and I went on to win 3rd place at the regional competition. I also got the chance to be on my squadrons debate team. Both were amazing experiences that really helped develop my skills and gave me the chance to interact with cadets from all over. The program also offers cadet camps that you can take over the summer allowing you to meet like-minded people who are passionate about cadets. As a first year cadet, I went to General Training, the 2-week course is designed to show you a little bit of everything through practical and more importantly fun activities that engage you and your friends. On the day of graduation, I left with the award for Top Cadet in Golf Squadron and some of the memories of the best 2 weeks of my life. It gave me invaluable insights about the kinds of camps people took. Some of my cousins that successfully went through the program were also high achievers – for instance, one learned to fly gliders before he learned how to drive a car, another went on an exchange program to Australia while another received medals for her passion for effective speaking. Yes… I do have many cousins!!! To me, that’s where it all began. It was those stories that motivated me to soar. This journey that began last year, will continue to be an adventure full of surprises waiting at every turn. I’m so glad I decided to Walk in the Forest.


Monday, 7 August 2017

Going Swiss.....

This past May, my family and I went for a 4 day stay in Switzerland. During our trip, we scaled 2 different mountains and visited 2 cities. There were boat tours, train rides, lots of walking and most importantly some of the most beautiful views I have ever seen in my life. On previous occasions, I have been to England, France, Italy and a handful of other countries in Europe, however, Switzerland will remain one of the most picturesque. In this blog, I will be going over my experiences in Switzerland and the tips I would recommend if you want to visit Switzerland.
 The first place we visited is the world renowned Mount Titlis. We took a 45-minute train from our hotel in Lucerne to a station called Engleberg. As soon as we stepped off of the train we found ourselves in a small town and the summit of Titlis was not far ahead of us. We went to the ticket booth and presented our Swiss Pass. This brings me to my very first point, if you plan to travel even a little please consider buying a Swiss Pass. Whether you're experiencing the country solo or with a large group, traveling like many other things in Switzerland is very expensive. The pass saved us approximately $700 is 4 days.  Back to the mountain, we decided to go up by a cable car, quite a scary experience for me considering at certain points we were well over 100 feet from the ground and it was my first time. However, once I got over the initial fear factor the scenic views were breathtaking. The cars allowed for a 360-degree panoramic view of the mountain. Many people also decided to scale the mountain freehand and then snowboard or ski down the mountain. As soon as we stepped off the cable car, we followed a flight of stairs up to an observation deck. There were views of many other mountains in the distance. We went approximately 8,000 feet high at the summit. The glacier at the top was a fantastic sight and the air outside was a great refresher from the temperature on the ground. The mountain was absolutely amazing and as a traveler, I would recommend it. 
The second mountain we went to is called Mount Pilatus, this mountain boasts a summit over 2000 meters above sea level with a cable car capable of carry approximately 30 terrified people to the summit. This cable car experience was my second and definitely the most fun I've ever had on a cable car. This time around the car never went under 500 feet and to add to that, there were yodellers singing the whole way up. The experience seemed straight out of a movie. The mountain was different from Titlis because there were many things to do even at different levels of the mountain, the first level was mainly for pictures of surrounding mountains, however there were also many bike trails and even a forest stunt course. You could even zip-line! when we reached the second level we had opportunities for photos but also to look at the country below. The view was impeccable and it was truly a fantastic experience.
 The second place I really enjoyed was our home base for our time in Switzerland, Lucern. In this city, we visited Lake Lucern, a peaceful lake surrounded by many homes and smaller cottages. Great area for taking pictures, however, for this city, the food and drink is quite expensive so I recommend bringing along some for the day. Hot Dogs will now make tip #2, if you're looking for a quick bite hot dogs serve as a cheap and convenient to way to purchase your food and will get you around. Another place we went to in Lucern was the Chapel bridge. This bridge built in 1333 is the oldest truss bridge in the world and was originally used by civilians as the way into the old main town. There were many pictures that described the rich history of the bridge and its significance in Switzerland's history. 
We also visited was Interlakken, we took a train from our main station and experienced a panoramic cabin in the train that allowed us to see the quaint town of Interlakken in the day. We got enjoyed our pizza and swiss ice-cream. We saw many picturesque sights, strolled through town, taking in all in. Between the many ice cream stands and the luxury cars, I had a hard time keeping up. It was pretty town and I wish we had more time to explore in and around. The city was breathtaking and I definitely enjoyed it. This beautiful city is a must see.

There’s more than just cheese to Switzerland!!!

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Why Middle Schools Should Have an Elective Program


 
Did you know what career you wanted to pursue when you were a child? I know I do, but the problem is that kids earlier that grade 9 don’t have access to resources that will allow them to find out about their dream job. I know that incorporating an elective program in grade 6 will allow students much more choice not only in their education, but also in their future endeavours. If students earlier than grade 9 were given the opportunity to customize their education, they wouldn't waste time of subjects that don’t matter or apply to them in this “One size fits all” school system.

Personally I want to be a lawyer or an entrepreneur when I grow up, but school does absolutely NOTHING when it comes to my education to help me prepare for court cases or how to get investors to invest in my potential company. I believe that schools are distracted when it comes to students and want to focus on subjects like math and science when they are completely irrelevant to people who want to pursue jobs that wouldn’t entail exponents or chemistry.

Electives would allow students to be exponentially more productive in school because they’re surrounded by people with similar interests who are focused on subjects that they like and are good at. It also gives lots of opportunities for kids who aren’t sure about what they want to do to  get a better understanding about what the job is really about. Students will gain a better understanding of what they’re good at while also striking a balance about what they like as well. I believe that like every other industry, the education sector must evolve and embrace new changes with an open mind. Subjects like Law and Business are only offered in high school, which for kids who want to pursue law or business studies they have to wait for 9 years to even get a grasp at the career they think seems interesting.

The happiness and motivation to succeed will go off the charts should the District School Board implement programs which allow students a broad range of choice and customization to their individualized learning.
In conclusion, I strongly believe and encourage that electives be incorporated as part of standard learning because it will help students gain a better understanding of their ideal job, enhance the way they learn and grow and give them the element of choice they need to succeed.