Merdeka Miles '21

School & Program
Western University, School for Advanced Studies in the Arts & Humanities

Meadowridge Student Since
Grade 2

Born in
Victoria, BC

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I have many passions. I am definitely into music – I love performing, playing guitar, and singing as well. I’m also involved in air cadets, which is one of my other, more time-consuming hobbies. I also play squash, compete in competitive pistol shooting, and love creative writing. I’ve put it aside during my exams, but I’m actually about to finish my second book. I wrote my first one two years ago for my Personal Project and started my second one shortly after. I have lots of hobbies, and I thank my dad for many of them. I joined air cadets because my dad got his pilot’s license and I wanted to learn, eventually, how to fly a plane too. You can actually fly a plane before you can drive a car, so I’ve been practicing and working towards that. I probably won’t continue air cadets when I enter university, so I’ll be ending my career as a flight sergeant, the third-highest rank.

How did you first find yourself at Meadowridge?

Well, I actually came here because of bullying at my last school. When I started elementary school, I joined another International Baccalaureate (IB) private school. That school shut down, and I moved to public school. I was stuck in a class with lower abilities and I started to hate school, even though it was something I used to love. So my parents found Meadowridge, figuring I would be challenged. When I came, it was a great experience.

Tell us about your year ahead.

I’ll be studying in Western’s School for Advanced Studies in the Arts & Humanities (SASAH). I’m going into environmental science and liberal arts. It’s a very interdisciplinary approach, covering all subjects. There’s a strong focus on history and literature and critical thinking. It’s also a discussion-based curriculum, which will work well in the SASAH program’s small, 30-something cohort. Classes will be between eight to 30 people and have an open space for discussion and analysis of various things.

Western’s SASAH program is very special – one degree, but two majors. I will be living on residence for at least the first year, and I’m considering renting a place with my best friend who will be studying at Huron. London is a very big place, with lots of community-based music and entertainment so I’m hoping to continue pursuing music through that. I actually work well under a very structured, busy schedule so I’m planning to also play squash and maybe continue working towards my pilot’s license too. Western is a big school with lots to do so it’ll be perfect for me.

Environmental studies is something I’m been passionate about since I was young. I remember my friends and I starting the Green Dream Success Team in Grade 3 when we were in Mr. Willms’ class.

What was it about Liberal Arts and Environmental Studies?

I’m a very indecisive person, but I ended up choosing environmental studies because I’m a hands-on person. The liberal arts also stemmed from my love of education more generally. I’m a critical overthinker, just like my dad. Liberal arts is where I’d thrive. It’s a program that looks at everything under a microscope, and there’s no other program like it. It’s a lot like the IB actually. Environmental studies is something I’m been passionate about since I was young. I remember my friends and I starting the Green Dream Success Team in Grade 3 when we were in Mr. Willms’ class. We were young, so it didn’t go far, but we did end up making posters and talking about ways to save the environment. I even worked with my parents and we would try to go waste-free at home for a week. Then when I was in Grade 5, a small group of us collected all the recycling from the bins around the school. After collecting all the cans and bottles, we’d drive up to the recycling depot and use our money to buy Oreos and donate them to the food bank. In the Middle Years Programme (MYP) Ms. Hops was also a big advocate.

I stumbled across a job that is perfect for me. I want to be a sustainability consultant. I want to make a big impact on the world and help save the environment for consumer products. It’s a very interesting profession, but it’ll be funny because you know you’re doing good when you start losing jobs [laughs]. There’s a program in Canada where you can get certified as an Environmental Specialist – that’s exactly what I want and so exciting! I love activism, developing new ideas, and being forward-thinking.

What are you most looking forward to in the year ahead?

Starting school – I love school a lot! – so I’m very excited to see what university is like. I’m excited to meet new people. I’m also excited to be at Western. When I was choosing a university, I needed to find an institution with a good reputation that has also made an impact on global advancement and technology. I was very happy with Western’s history in cancer research and its input into the global research community. A lot of schools that I was interested in were on the east coast, but I love the idea of extreme weather. Also, if there’s a study abroad program, I’m doing! I love traveling and want to go to all corners of the world. I’m taking every opportunity.

What will you miss most as you move onto the next chapter?

I’ve been at Meadowridge for so many years. I’m going to miss that comfortable community I have always had. I know some of my friends who hate their school, but I love my school. I loved Week Without Walls (WWOW) and being outside with my friends. I liked seeing my classmates who hate camping end up enjoying it at the end. Mr. Lockhart has been a big influence on me too, and I’ll miss his passionate and persuasive classes. His classes, and history classes, are something I’ll miss. I’ll also miss my dog, Mango.

Any parting words of wisdom?

There’s something I’ve been telling people, especially my classmates, and I know it’s a hard topic to talk about… but school isn’t everything. The world doesn’t revolve around a degree, money, or success. I’ve been telling my friends, just try to stay young. Enjoy little things. If you can’t study anymore, try to focus on something you enjoy. If I can’t study anymore for an exam or test, I’ll go play video games and that’s okay.

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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