Abdullah Alwohaibi says he hopes the Shad Valley program will brings out the best in him so he can become a mechanical engineer.
The 16-year-old from Saudi Arabia came to Thunder Bay for the 13th Shad Valley program after he received a scholarship in order to participate and fly to Canada. He joined about 60 other students from across Canada as well as from other parts of the world at Lakehead University on Monday.
“I hope to be a mechanical engineer,” Abdullah said. “I hope I get some knowledge of my hidden talents. At my school we don’t have a lot of research projects. It’s a lot of lectures and exams. I think going to school is the most important thing. It’s important to go to school so you know the basics like math, physics and learn those basics at least.”
Alexandra Sorckoff, a Grade 11 student at Central Memorial High School in Calgary, said it was her mom who got her interested in trying the four-week program. Her mom heard that Alexandra wanted to go to a specific university and wanted to give her daughter the experience of living on her own for a while.
Alexandra said she hopes to go to school in order to earn a degree in biology with a minor in music.
“I’m hoping Shad will help me expand my outlook and get me more interested,” Alexandra said. “I think the biggest step in being a leader is actually listening to people. I think most leaders should be on the side watching instead of being a part of it and also telling people what to do.”
Shad Valley director Sultan Siddiqui said the program is designed to give students a taste of university life before they complete high school.
“University life is far different than high school,” Siddiqui said. “In high school they have teachers who really care about the students and take students from point A to point B in small steps. In most universities, class sizes are huge -- not at Lakehead but in most universities. Students become lost and no one is following up on their progress. Other times they are just overwhelmed by work.”
He said they picked students who showed they were leaders in their own communities and are usually recommended by the school’s councillors and then have to go through an academic process.
Each year the program has a theme the students work with. This year the theme is dealing with obesity.
Siddiqui added the students will work to develop projects to try and solve this problem.
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