Surrey high school students ace Simon Fraser University courses

SURREY — A group of Surrey high school students have shown they are more than ready for the next step in education following a successful first semester at Simon Fraser University.

The students are taking the university level courses as part of a program called the Fraser Heights Integrated Math and Science Academy, which places secondary students in first-year math and sciences classes at SFU.

The program kicked off in 2014 and the first batch of students is just finishing up the second part of the two-year program. While the program is based out of Fraser Heights Secondary, it is open to all students within the district.

"It’s been excellent, the students are loving the experience; they’re doing really well and we’re really proud of them," said Fraser Heights principal Sheila Morissette. "I think we sent SFU some really fine students."

Believed to be the first of its kind in Western Canada, the program allows high school students to earn up to 17 university credits towards their post-secondary studies.

For Grade 12 student Matthew Li, the program meant getting a head start on the next stage of his life.

"I applied to a lot of universities in the U.S. and it’s really good to have this because it fulfills all of your science requirements," explained Li, who wants to go into engineering. "You go to UBC and they might say you need two sciences but I won’t need to worry if I have enough credits."

As for the challenge of taking universitylevel courses, the students appear to be more than capable of rising to the occasion. For SFU’s Chemistry 121 course, half of the high school students attained an A-or higher and the overall average mark was 10 per cent higher than that of the university students taking the same class.

Claire Cupples, dean of science at SFU, said she is delighted by the results of the program thus far.

"Clearly these students are capable of working beyond their level and SFU is happy to provide them with an opportunity to expand their horizons and help them acquire university credits," she said.

So what are the students doing that makes them so successful? Li attributes it all to teamwork.

"We work together to solve problems, it’s really a big strong sense of community that really holds the programs together," he said.

And with the success of the debut year now on the books, the program is currently accepting applications for Grade 11 students in the 2015-2016 school year.

"In all honesty I think it’s an amazing program and it’s excellently put together," said Li. "I have to give kudos to the teachers who put their blood, sweat and tears into putting this thing together."

For more information on the program, go to Fhtsscienceacademy.ca.

cpoon@thenownewspaper.com

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