Day 89 - Keerti (10th person I approached)
March 30, 2014 - Keerti is a true Vancouverite! Born in Vancouver, Keerti grew up in the Little Mountain/Main Street area. She attended one elementary school, and says with a smile
“I still know people I went to elementary school with!”
In Grade 7, Keerti applied to go into an accelerated learning program called ‘Ideal Mini School’ (*Fact Check - link below) where the focus is on Fine Arts while encouraging a more independent approach to learning. Keerti told me,
“I had hoped it would be more academic. There was an interview process and the school only has 100 students, ranging from Grade 8 to Grade 12. It took me a while to get to used it. For the first eight months, I didn’t really like it. I was used to a more structured environment. But I ended up loving it. We learned English, Sciences, Math as well as Fine Arts, and textiles. There was actually a class just on textiles! It had it’s drawbacks too. The timing and classes didn’t integrate with other classes at Churchill, the administering school, so I couldn’t pick up additional classes. But it was a really great experience and opportunity.”
For Grades 11 and 12, Keerti switched things up again, getting into the International Baccalaureate program, which is for students ‘aged 3 to 19 help develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world,’ and to help prepare them for University. Upon graduating from high-school, Keerti then went to the University of British Columbia (UBC) getting her undergraduate degree in Sciences. Currently Keerti is taking some classes,
“Just because I enjoy school. I’m taking a class in Educational Psychology, and for that I’m preparing an interactive book aimed at 8 year old children, working with the Food Safe program. I’m also taking a class in Earth and Ocean sciences which looks at natural disasters. And I’m doing a course in South Asian Literature. That’s studying literature that was written in South Asia, and has been translated into English,” Keerti tells me.
I can tell that she is a very focussed and determined young woman, who truly enjoys learning and discovering. We talk a bit about what Keerti wants to do next, and her face lights up when she tells me,
“I want to go to into medicine. Possibly research, I’m not too sure. I think it’s a bit early to decide what direction I’ll go in. But I’m looking into it and doing some research.”
In her spare time (what??) Keerti has volunteered at BC Children’s Hospital, and we talk about her time working with children with autism and learning disabilities. She spent a day following her family Doctor around for a Planning course she was taking.
“I literally approached my family Doctor and asked if I could shadow her. She is an incredible woman who used to be on the Olympic Ski team and then she became a Doctor. I wish I had taken a planning course much earlier. It really helped me to further my understanding of building out a map to success. So planning what courses I needed to take to get me to where I want to be in the next five, ten years and beyond. It has really helped” she says.
Keerti also volunteers at UBC’s Sexual Assault Support Centre. She speaks English, Punjabi and “taught myself Hindi from watching Bollywood movies.”
Keerti’s parents immigrated from India some 23 years ago.
“They both have academic backgrounds. Both of my parents have their Masters degrees and were teachers in sciences, in India. They married later in life, in their 30’s and then came to Canada. They then had us three kids, and I guess the focus changed. They both work for Canada Post,” she says.
Keerti has a younger brother and a younger sister. I ask if they are as smart as she is, and without hesitation, she replies
“They are both far smarter than I am. My brother is in his third year of University in Sciences, and was selected as a child by the school board as a ‘gifted child.' He knows so much and has worked very hard to get where he is. He averages 94% in all of his classes. I’ve never gotten marks like that. And just yesterday, my sister got awarded a scholarship. It’s not a lot of money, but it’s wonderful that she got the recognition for her hard wrk. They're both incredibly talented!”
I ask if they are a close family and Keerti smiles with pride and tells me,
“Yes, we are. Of course you know as kids we fought, yelled, argued and bit, but we get along now. Just yesterday my father was going through some old video tapes he had. I heard children’s voices and when I went into the room to see what my Dad was doing, he was watching old home movies from when we were kids. My mother came into the room and I called my sister. There was one video from my brothers birthday that I actually remember. My father had gotten face paint, and my brother was done up like Superman. My brother was still sleeping, so I woke him up, and all five of us sat there and watched these family movies. It was a lot of fun.” #notastranger
*Fact Check - https://www.vsb.bc.ca/programs/ideal-mini-school