Feature Story

Graduates of 2022

 | June 21, 2022
Photo: Landon Oevermann, Mathew Zandstra, James Cannon and Seth Bourke during the ski season. Photo Kyle James.

On June 21, four Sun Peaks Secondary Academy (SPSA) students received their diplomas and officially said goodbye to high school.

SPIN caught up with graduates to hear a bit more about their most memorable experiences and what their plans are for the future.

Mathew Zandstra

Zandstra started school in Sun Peaks in 2019. Prior, he lived back and forth between Canada and Scotland while doing an open learning course.

He said his favourite part about going to school in Sun Peaks is the freedom to do extracurriculars.

“Not many schools you can say that you ski on your lunch break, or that I had the opportunity to ski patrol while I was up here,” Zandstra said. “I had the ability to basically volunteer my time whenever I had it, which was great.”

Zandstra said since he enjoyed the first response aspect of ski patrol, he’s planning to attend the Justice Institute of B.C. in Kelowna next year to train for his primary care paramedic certification.

Landon Oevermann

Oevermann has attended school in Sun Peaks since it first opened in 2010, when he was entering grade one.

“I used to go to Heffley with James [Cannon]. Then when that school shut down, both of our parents and a few others started fundraising for this school up here,” Oevermann said. “Back then it was maybe 19 students.”

Oevermann said he enjoyed SPSA’s online aspect because it allowed him to guide himself from early on in the year. While that might be tricky for some students, Oevermann said it worked well for him.

Last year, Oevermann attended a film school in Powell River for a semester. Looking forward, he plans to eventually pursue secondary education in film.

James Cannon

Similarly to Oevermann, Cannon has attended school in Sun Peaks since grade one after his parents helped fundraise to get it started.

“The opportunities that the school gives you outside of school is pretty cool. I’ve been able to travel a lot with my family,” Cannon said. “Obviously I like skiing, being on the mountain and being outside.”

Cannon jokingly added having a school on the mountain also saves him several hours a day taking the bus into town — which gets him a lot of extra ski time.

He is planning to take the next year off school to get his Canadian Ski Instructors’ Alliance level three certification. The following year, Cannon wants to attend university to study sciences.

Seth Bourke

Bourke’s grade 12 year was his first attending school in Sun Peaks. He grew up in Ottawa, and moved to Grand Prairie, Alta. in grade eight.

Bourke agreed he appreciates living on the mountain because of the outdoor lifestyle it allows for.

“My favourite part is exploring the non-academic parts of education and having the opportunity to do disc golf and ski,” he said. “I believe education is more than just academics.”

Bourke will be attending the University of Ottawa this fall for a commerce and accounting program. He is also going to participate in the House of Commons Page Program, which is an internship that accepts 40 undergraduate students a year.

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