Immigrants are flocking to Winkler faster than ever. People from
Germany, Mexico, the United States as well as many other countries
are finding new opportunities right here in Winkler, Manitoba.
The question is, how does our school system compare to the school
systems of the countries from which these students come?
Many people in Winkler probably think of our school life as
"the way all schools are. " This, however, could not
be more false. Other countries have completely different systems
and therefore, make the lives of the students very different.
Irina Derksen moved to Winkler from Germany when she was 16 years
old. According to her, schools are very different in Europe.
European schools only go up until grade 10. After this, students
can decide if they want to graduate and go into some form of
apprenticeship, or they can choose to move onto a three-year
program that is required to qualify for university.
This is only the beginning of the differences between schools
in other countries. Matt Pauls, Garden Valley Collegiate's student
council president, was born in Asuncion, Paraguay and attended
a private Spanish school there. School began at 7 am but ended
Garden Valley Collegiate varies in many aspects including
teachers, classes, graduation activities, extra-curricular options,
and even transportation. Many places, including Europe and Paraguay,
regard school as a place to learn the subjects taught and nothing
else. GVC is a place to learn, not only about curricular subjects
such as physics and math, but also about life, through such extra-curricular
activities as sports, drama, Spotlight Concerts and many other
things. Schools in many other countries do not offer extra-curricular
activities and once the day is over, students leave the school
and do not return until the next day. If students wish to participate
in activities, they must join clubs in their community.
All in all, schools are much less formal and strict in Canada
than in other countries. A student would never be allowed to
talk, eat, or even chew gum during class in Europe or South America.
Relationships with teachers are also very limited. One would
not speak to a teacher in a conversational way, but only in a
deferential manner. Lunch periods are much shorter and
students certainly do not have "spares". On top of
everything, students must take the city bus to be at school,
which usually starts before 8 a.m. in Europe and even earlier
Derkson believes that school in Winkler is much better than
school in Germany. She feels that here she has more freedom and
can enjoy school while she is still learning. Her only complaint
is that they never had exams back in Germany and she finds the
exams here incredibly difficult.
Pauls, however, feels that life in Winkler and Paraguay cannot
be compared. He says that there are many advantages to Garden
Valley Collegiate such as more freedom and opportunities, but
that there are also disadvantages such as a longer school day.
So how does Garden Valley Collegiate compare to other schools
around the world? The differences seem endless. In general, GVC
seems a more relaxed and enjoyable environment with many more
opportunities and extra-curricular activities. Every country
is different and every school within each country also varies,
but it looks as though GVC has proven itself to be an excellent
learning environment. That may explain why there are so many
coming to Winkler.