Twice a year the Rocky View School (RVS) Board of Trustees recognizes outstanding achievement by acknowledging RVS students who obtain a perfect mark on a provincial diploma exam. 

Today (May 16) during their board meeting, trustees had the chance to honour nine students who did the remarkable feat on an exam during the 2019 Provincial Exams.

Three of the achievers were from Airdrie schools, with two from George McDougall High School.  Katie Keller, a grade 11 student, achieved her perfect mark on the Biology 30 test while Alex Thorpe got his 100 percent grade during the Math 30-1 exam.  The other Airdrie student came from W.H. Croxford High School.  Amtul Saddiqa also managed her perfect mark in the Biology 30 text.

The three's success came from a combination of skill and hard work.  Keller had a plan for getting ready for the test.  "I just had to study and put a lot of time into my studying and really focus on what I was learning," Keller explains.  "I would study the things I struggled with more, more in-depth and did more practice questions on those.  Things that came easier I still went over them, just to make sure, but I didn't spend as much time on them."

Although a lot of people might avoid the things they struggle with, Keller believes you're better to attack them head-on.  She says, "I think it's more valuable to work on the things you struggle with so you can perfect those than to repeat the things you already know because you're already good at those.  You have to work on what you can do to make yourself better."

Along with her academic work, Keller plays both club and school volleyball, volunteers her time at cheer provincials, as a volleyball scorekeeper and is a reading buddy for elementary students.  Although just in grade 11, she has her eye set on a career in medicine, either sports medicine or surgery.

Alex Thorpe used his strong organizational skills and a willingness to ask probing questions to help him to 100 percent in Math 30-1.   But studying isn't the only thing Thorpe keeps busy at.  His community involvement for someone his age is quite remarkable.

"I play competitive soccer for Airdrie and District Soccer.  I'm also involved with Junior Achievement, it's high school students across Airdrie, we start up our own business, we have some mentors and there's about 20 of us.  We met every Thursday, 6:00 to 9:00 pm and I got some great experience and I got some sense of the entrepreneurship world.  Yeah, I loved it."

Thorpe also gets involved in community cleanups and fundraising bottle drives.  While education is important to him, when he finishes grade 12 this year, Thorpe plan s to take a gap year to see the world.

"I think the main goal is just to travel and get as many experiences as possible, experience the world.  I think I'll take every experience that comes to me, maybe even looking at something like a work visa, living and working overseas."

Once he gets back from exploring the world, Thorpe is thinking of the University of British Columbia or the University of Victoria as good places to pursue international business or engineering.

W.H. Croxford High School is home to Amtul Saddiqa who also aced the Biology 30 test, but as she says when asked how hard she had to study for the test she replies, "Pretty hard," then she laughs.  "I had to go to all the classes like I don't think I skipped even a class.  I studied for every test, even if it was a quiz, the smallest things I studied for.  At the end, I also sat down three days before the exam and I went through everything.  Yeah, it was a lot.:

Saddiqa has a philosophy about the importance of education.  She says, "It's very important.  Without education I don't think we would be knowledgeable people, we wouldn't be able to accomplish much.  I think education changes a person and changes the way we think."

Saddiqa is also a well-rounded individual, being heavily involved in community work.  She's volunteered her time to teach weekly religious classes for her Muslim community, and also tutors family friends in math.  She's enjoys reading, painting, drawing and sewing during her free time.

Next year, Saddiqa plans to continue her education at the University of Calgary, although she's not certain what field she plans to pursue.  "For now I'm going on the business route and thinking of doing something with that, but, I don't know, I might switch over to something to do with medicine or science."

The other six students achieving a perfect mark included Mackenzie Davis and Brooke Kindleman of Cochrane High School, both in Biology 30.  Kendra Allyson O'Hearn from Bow Valley High in Cochrane in Math 30-1.  Janae Richards from Springbank High in Chemistry 30, and Emily Trew and Colby Coopersmith from Chestermere High School in Biology 30 and Chemistry 30 respectively.

Coopersmith was what the board referred to as a "repeat offender" having scored a previous perfect mark in an earlier Provincial Diploma Exam.  

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