Teacher aims to launch cadet academy at school

NORTH DELTA – Captain David Smith is disappointed that the Cadet Corps he proposed at Seaquam Secondary in Delta didn’t catch on. It would be in conjunction with the 1867 Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, part of the Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps in which Smith is a commanding officer, but the program didn’t get the enrolment numbers he was hoping for – and it has to wait until September 2015 to see its start date.


Smith, who is also an automotive technology teacher at the North Delta school, thinks bringing on a cadet academy, in partnership with the school board, would enrich the education system, as well as bring about a sense of social responsibility. Other academies currently available to students in the district include those devoted to golf, hockey, softball and other sports, along with the prestigious International Baccalaureate (IB) program.


"We received approval from all parties involved in making this a reality in January so that we could start advertising for a Delta Cadet Academy at Seaquam for the 2014-2015 school year," Smith said. By press time, only 16 students showed interest in enrolling in the program while the program needs around 20 to 30 students minimum for the academy to be fully realized.


"Initially, it was in the schools about a hundred-and-something years ago, and then after the second world war, it kind of faded out of the schools," he explained to the Now. "Being a teacher, I thought this program, because it reaches out to that (highschool) age group, would be a perfect program for inside a school."


The cadet training would take place over the school year, with two out of eight classes relating to Delta Cadet Academy. One block would be cadet physical education and the second would make up other applied skills related to the Army Cadet Star Level.


"The program has changed over the years," Smith said, considering that parents and students might be turned off by a military impression. "It’s more citizenshipbased, more adventure training-based. It does have a military taste to it but that’s not the focus. It’s more of citizenship and leadership, using adventure training as a conduit to do that."


Until now, cadets has never been part of a public school curriculum, as it’s often reserved for private high schools or open corps, and Smith is enthusiastic about getting the program started.


"Incorporating a full cadet program into a public secondary school is ground-breaking and offers students unique educational options. It has taken a lot of work to get to this point, but we are really excited to get the Delta Cadet Academy started," he said.


Meanwhile, on Sunday, June 8, the 1867 Seaforth Highlanders of Canada will host its annual ceremonial review at Seaquam Secondary, 11584 Lyon Rd., North Delta, starting at 1 p.m.