This past week twelfth grader Sierra Vaillancourt won multiple awards including Academic Student of the Year! We did a very special interview for you guys to get to know more about this Raider.
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself
I’m Sierra Vaillancourt, and I’m in grade twelve! I’m a major theatre nerd, caf muffin enthusiast, swimmer, and hopeful scientist.
2. How did you achieve the awards that you received?
I know this is the cliche answer but honestly, just with a lot of hard work! Grade eleven was a really challenging year for me. My courses were incredibly difficult and my extracurriculars were even busier than previous years. It took a lot of juggling to get everything balanced, but at the end of the day, I was passionate about everything I was involved in and that made all the difference.
3. Where do you see yourself in five years?
At this point, I’m open to all the possibilities! I’ve applied to life science programs at universities and hope to start my post-secondary education next fall. If I’m allowed to be ambitious here, I’d love to say that in five years I’ll be working at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health in Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s a goal of mine to study neuroscience and research treatments for mental illnesses.
4. What techniques do you use to achieve high marks?
My answer to this question is a lot different now than in would have been in grade nine. When I first started high school, my whole education was focused on getting high marks. My perspective shifted when I got to grade eleven biology class. In that class, I didn’t get the highest marks but I learned more than I had in any other class. I was engaged by the material and studied to learn, not just to see a ninety on my report card. I carry that perspective with me in every class I take now. Before a test, I aim to understand concepts so well that I can teach them to someone else (my siblings know far more than they’d like to about the Kreb’s cycle). I try not to memorize things just to regurgitate them on the test paper but instead apply what I’ve learned in class and get curious about what these concepts mean in the real world. That’s how I know I’ve learned and to me, that knowledge is far more important than just getting high marks. Besides, when you care about what you’re learning and enjoy putting in the effort, the marks will come!
5. What sports teams and clubs are you on?
I love trying new things so I’ve been involved in lots of extracurriculars over the course of high school. I’m currently on the swim team which is very new and exciting. Mr. Boyle and Mrs. Merrick are incredible coaches and I’m so excited to go into the first meet at the end of the month! I’m also on HOSA this year which has been a ton of fun. HOSA is essentially a health care club that works towards the HOSA Spring Leadership Conference, the largest health science competition in Canada! In addition, I’m a proud member of Theatre Aquinas. We’re currently working on our Christmas One Acts Festival (coming to the STA stage on December 4th and 5th) which is a collection of entirely student-written and directed plays! I’m also involved as an executive member of STA’s Art Council which is gearing up for our annual Coffee House on November 21st. I hope to continue to try new things and get involved throughout the rest of the semester and into the New Year.
6. What do you love about STA?
So many things! I love the wide range of extracurriculars we have available and all of the fabulous teachers and coaches who run them. Our theatre program is absolutely phenomenal – we have such talented directors, stage managers, and crews. I also think our teachers are incredible. They’re so passionate about what they teach and always inspire me to as well! Oh, and I, of course, can’t forget the delicious caf muffins.
7. Any advice to students?
Just take everything one day at a time.
I had a friend tell me when I was in grade nine to soak up every moment of high school – even the parts that were difficult, boring, or even flat out embarrassing. I feel like I’ve really listened to that advice and encourage everyone else to as well. No part of high school is absolutely perfect, but try your best to make every part memorable!
There you have it, one more raider life uncovered. If you see Sierra in the hallways, be sure to say hi!