Tianyi Ma is leaving the Shad Valley program with a renewed sense of confidence.
“Shad is actually so much fun. It’s definitely a lot of work but at the same time it’s enjoyable work. At the end of the day you get to rest knowing you’re so capable of doing basically whatever you want,” said she said.
Ma, 15, is one of about 60 high school students from across Canada who travelled to Thunder Bay this July for the Shad Valley International program at Lakehead University. The four-week academic program wrapped up Thursday.
Between the lectures, free time and all the projects they’ve worked on, Ma, who calls Toronto home, said she learned a lot not only academically during the past month, but also about herself.
“My time at Shad has been – honestly, it’s been so fantastic,” she said. “The days are really full. I think they’re probably fuller than I’m used to at school.”
The students were split into smaller groups and had to come up with a product to reduce or prevent obesity in North American youth. Ma said the late nights working with her fellow Shads on the project.
“None of us slept for a good 72 hours and that led to a lot of bonding,” she said.
Shad program assistant Lisa Chandler said aside from lectures and other projects, they also took the students camping, and tried to get them out of their comfort zone and introduce them to new things.
The first day they attended a powwow and throughout the month saw a lot of the city.
The focus of the program is to enrich and challenge some of the country’s best students.
“We want to take these students that have shown a lot of potential in high school and show them what they are capable of, just push them,” she said.
Hosting the Shad Valley program is also a program to showcase Lakehead University to the students.
“A lot of the students wouldn’t’ really think about Lakehead otherwise. For a lot of these kids it’s not really on their radar without coming to this program,” said Chandler.
“When they do come here, they really see the value of this school and how strong the community is,” she added.
On Twitter: @JodiL_reporter
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