Carrigan McCaw ’23

School & Program
Taking a Gap Year

Meadowridge Student Since
Grade 9

Tell us about your time at Meadowridge and the connections you’ve made.

I was born in Ontario, but my family moved overseas for work when I was quite young. I grew up studying in Dubai and Kenya with a British-based curriculum and environment which was very different than it is here. Because I moved around often and attended many different schools, I never really wanted to get too comfortable or make friends too quickly, but when I came to Meadowridge in Grade 9, it was hard not to make friends here. I even told my parents that I didn’t want to move anymore and that we needed to stay for a minimum of a few years.

It was a welcoming environment and I never felt judged. Cliques are very rare here and we all mingle with each other. I used to be hesitant to talk to adults, but being here has changed me. In the past, I never really liked going to teachers for help, but the teachers at Meadowridge are understanding, supportive, and have pushed me. Even with teachers that have never taught me, I can still comfortably talk to them about anything.   

As someone who came to Meadowridge with an international education experience, what advice would you give to international students coming here? What can they do to feel comfortable in a foreign place?  

You’d think it would be a lot scarier coming to a new school, but it’s surprisingly not. People are excited to see and meet you. When teachers announce new students, Meadowridge students are more excited to see you and be your friend. You come here, you get along with one person, then they introduce you to their friends and your circle of friends grows; it feels like networking, but you’re making friends.  

What do you want to be remembered for as a Meadowridge student? 

I’m pretty funny, so probably for being funny. Also, a lot of people don’t know this about me, or only found out this year, but I’m also really big into art and creating it. I’ve always been told people will remember me for having red hair. It’s really easy to find me in a big group of people, just look for the red hair! 

What will you always remember?

The people and the teachers, the art I’ve created here, the conversations and talking to my friends about anything.    

What are you looking forward to in the years ahead? How did you make your decision on taking a gap year? 

Taking a break and working on myself and what inspires me as an artist, or just doing things that I didn’t have a chance or time to do while I was in school. In my gap year, I’ll be moving back to Dubai with my family, then, possibly going to the Netherlands for a year to take classes, take on apprenticeships, and gain some work and life experiences. It was actually my parents’ idea to take a gap year to develop and work on myself. I plan on coming back to Canada after a year for school.  

What are you pursuing in university? Any goals? 

When I come back here, I want to study art at Emily Carr. I’m not sure exactly what yet, but I know it will be connected to art. Writing was never my strength, but art gave me a way to communicate what I was thinking and feeling. My goal would be to get a Master’s in art history, be an art curator, an illustrator, or teach people about art. It would be cool to be an art teacher or professor too. There are so many things I want to learn about or do, so taking a gap year gives me the time and space to see what I like, explore different mediums, and figure it all out. All I know is, I want to work in art and storytelling.  

Any parting words of wisdom for our Meadowridge Community? 

We’re still developing. Your brain isn’t even fully developed, so if you put so much pressure on yourself in High School, you won’t enjoy it. Your grades don’t matter as much as you think they do and you’re smarter than you think you are. In IB, we’re held to such a high standard. If we got through IB, we’re intelligent. We can get through anything.  

Congratulations to our 2023 Graduates

The Class of 2023 is graduating from one of the most rigorous academic programs in the world. Throughout the past year, and throughout their journey with us at Meadowridge, they have exhibited grace, courage, intelligence, and kindness.

They are all going on to prestigious schools nationally and internationally, to join rigorous programs in a variety of disciplines, and, most importantly, to make a positive impact in our world. We are proud of what they have achieved, and despite knowing change is the only certainty, we are confident that these young people are prepared to not only meet the future, but also to create it.

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