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Feature - First among equals

A year of firsts for the Class of 2002 and the Whistler community

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"The parents, from what I have seen want the best for their kids. Sometimes we may disagree on what that is but there is no question that what I have seen is that they want the best and you can’t argue with that. These guys are symbolic of that attitude.

"I think the parents’ expectations and the students’ goals have all helped in affecting, in a positive way, the culture and how the school can respond."

There have been criticisms levelled at the school over the years about the use of the quarter system, which allows many young athletes to pursue both their sport and school, and its general academic level.

School counsellor Kevin Titus believes the achievements of this class puts many of those concerns to rest.

"There has been a lot of criticism about the quarter system and about the school," said Titus.

"Some people have been taking their kids out of school and putting them in private school because they have some perception in their minds that the school isn’t providing enough of an education and they can’t get the courses they need to go on.

"But we have so many kids who are going exactly where they want to be going and have been able to do it just fine with our little school here.

"We have excellent teachers, we have excellent programs, and we are producing excellent students."

Last year about 18 students applied for scholarships, said Titus. This year there are more than 35 applying.

There are six students whose marks are over 90 per cent, three of them have marks above 95 per cent. About a third of the class received grades of over 80 per cent.

"That is huge," said Titus. "We rarely have one student that high (over 95 per cent) and this year we have three.

"There are some amazing students here.

"This says Whistler Secondary is capable of producing students on par with any other school in the province and we have three main students who are competing with the best in the province."

Students won’t know who’s won the scholarships until their graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 8.

But students have not just succeeded academically. Mercedes Nicoll will join the national snowboard team.

"It’s great," she said, clearly excited at the honour she has won through hard work and dedication.