High school graduation is an important crossroads in life. The class of 2012 at Whistler Secondary School (WSS) are acutely aware of this, with their prom and graduation ceremony behind them and exams about to start.
They are busy making choices: whether post-secondary education, work, or travel the choices they make now will lead to their next great adventure in life.
WSS's principal, Bev Oakley, says she expects 55 to 60 per cent of her 68 graduates this year to stay in education, much higher than the provincial average.
"Our graduating classes, as a whole, have a very strong success identity," she said.
"Our students are very solution focused in terms of knowing where they want to go and asking 'how do I get there?'"
Each 2012 graduate is asking that same exciting and scary question. Pique spoke to four WSS grads about their plans for a glimpse at all this hope and talent.
Mason Protter, 18, is starting his post-secondary years at the Burnaby Mountain campus of Simon Fraser University this fall, with the aim of one day becoming a research physicist.
"My parents said I always really wanted to be a scientist of sorts, even before I started to going to school," he said.
"Apparently, I wanted to be a geologist, an astronomer — I didn't know any of these terms, but I would tell them that I wanted to study frogs or I wanted to study stars."
By the time he was in his early teens his interest had turned to physics.
"It's the language of the universe. I found it fascinating to find out about how these things work, piecing them together and finding these connections, I get a lot of meaning out of it," he says.
Mason is off to a good start, with an impressive grade average, his overall average was 86 at the start of the semester but "this should go up because I'm getting 97 in calculus."
He has had two scholarships awarded so far — one sponsored by the WSS PAC and the other from the Resort Municipality of Whistler — and is waiting to hear about a third from the Schulich Leader Scholarship.
He is mulling over his postgraduate future (in a university sense) already, and wants to take his PhD in Canada or Israel. And he knows an academic life can't be all research: "I'd probably do some professor things because I have to."
Victoria Jazic is taking what the Brits call a "gap year" before university. The 18-year-old will work for a while and then travel with three friends to south-east Asia. The locations aren't decided yet, but she rattles off a few ideas: Bali, Cambodia...