Celebrating a strong, creative, resilient Lunenburg County
NOW, MORE THAN EVER...
Story and photos by CHARLOTTE BROOKS
David and Evelyn Ernst are the founders and operators of the ever-expanding agri-food business, Terra Beata Farms. When they were exploring places to raise a family and a business, educational opportunities for their four children were a major consideration. They wanted a rigorous academic program that would open doors to future studies and life-long learning. And they knew that Park View Education Centre in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia offered exactly what they were looking for!
Both David and Evelyn grew up in Lunenburg County and attended Park View in the mid-1980’s. The school is the largest in the area and serves families in the towns of Bridgewater, Lunenburg, Mahone Bay and surrounding areas. Each year, close to fifty international students from around the world also attend Park View Education Centre, bringing their various cultures and languages to the school and broader community.
With approximately 900 students in Grades 10 to 12, Park View offers a variety of program options to meet diverse student needs.
The largest of these special programs is the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program, which was introduced at Park View over 35 years ago. IB provides students with an enriched curriculum, and it is a well-established part of the school’s tradition and reputation. Each year, almost 30 percen t of Park View’s students participate in the IB program to some degree; students may accept the challenge of the full diploma program or select only those IB courses in their areas of strength and interest. Both David and Evelyn Ernst participate d in the IB program while they were at Park View and therefore learned first-hand of the program’s many benefits: high international standards, solid preparation for post-secondary study, world-wide recognition, and skill development in areas such as critical thinking, independent research, and time management.
The program is publicly-funded and offered with no cost to the student. According to Evelyn, “We are glad the IB program is available at Park View. We feel that it is important to challenge society’s next generation of leaders so that they develop to their fullest potential.” The Ernsts completed university degree programs outside of Nova Scotia and even lived in Ontario for a period of time. However, as a young entrepreneurial couple, they returned home; “Having the IB program available in this area was a significant part of our decision to settle in Lunenburg County and raise our family here.” Their three eldest children have already achieved their IB Diplomas and are now enrolled in university.
The IB program at Park View is a welcoming option for students who have a love of learning. Students who tend to be successful in the program are curious, self-motivated, hard-working, responsible, open-minded, and resilient. Grade
10 is viewed as a preparatory year for the official, well rounded IB program that spans Grades 11 and 12. Park View currently offers IB courses in Biology, Chemistry, English, French, History, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology, Theory of
Knowledge, and Visual Arts, and teachers receive specialized training to enhance their delivery of these courses. The program emphasizes the development of strong student skills in such areas as organization, communication, analysis, reflection, presentation, stress-management, and teamwork. Former IB Diploma graduate, Graham Mann comments that, “IB challenged me, both in terms of difficulty and volume of work, which served as great preparation for both university and work afterwards. Perhaps even more valuable than the knowledge itself are the habits of persistence, time management and hard work that one is forced to develop going through the IB program.”
International Baccalaureate is truly a world-wide educational movement for change. IB is now offered in over 5000 schools in 156 nations. IB students are required to explore various perspectives and global issues ranging from climate change to poverty to environmental challenges to human rights. To have such a program right here in Lunenburg County is a privilege we need to celebrate as a potential agent for community development.
The last line of the IB Mission Statement encourages students “across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.” In today’s society, perhaps there is nothing more important we can teach our youth.