On Valentine’s Day Branksome Hall Asia opening in the ambitious Jeju Global Education City (JGEC), had a special gift for Jeju to show its commitment to the island and its people.
During Branksome Hall Asia’s information session on Feb. 14, at the Grand Hotel, Jeju City, the school’s Director Peter Kenny told a room filled with over 100 parents and perspective students that the school had set aside 20 percent of all their scholarships specifically for Jeju students.
“The scholarships are for grade 10 this year but will be extended from grade seven to 10 in years to come,” Kenny told The Weekly between fielding questions from parents and hopeful students after the information session. “So if we grant 10 students a scholarship, at least two of them will be for Jeju, if we get 100, obviously 20 of them will be for Jeju.”
Kenny continued that, “In the future it will be about 4 percent of the total school population. And, of course, most of that is in the secondary school. It will account for around 60 students.”
According to a Branksome Hall Asia brochure, the distinction will be granted to “globally minded students” who are capable of conducting thorough and accurate research; communicating ideas in English as well as in at least one other language; solving complex problems and make good decisions; have integrity, honesty, and a sense of fairness, and justice; and are involved in their community, among other requirements.
The evaluation process will consist of an examination of the student’s two most recent school records, reference letters from both the student’s math and English teachers, a character reference from someone other than a family member (teacher, sports coach, community service leader), and a personal statement handwritten in English.
“We want students that are globally minded, active, curious, and who are proactive in the community.”
▲ Top, Branksome Hall Asia Deputy Principal Glen Radojkovich speaks to an attentive crowd during the school's information session. Middle, Director Peter Kenny discusses the school's scholarships specifically for Jeju students. Above, hopeful parents and perspective students listen to what Branksome Hall Asia has to offer. Photos by The Jeju Weekly
He explained that the target audience for this all girls’ school is not necessarily Jeju due to the island’s financial demographic, but that “is why we want to target our scholarship program to Jeju because we are a part of Jeju and I think we need Jeju adults and students to be a part of our school to make it as relevant and make us accepted in the community.”
“I do not want to be the rich school on the hill that is an enclave of North America. We really want to be part of the community,” Kenny said. “Branksome Hall Asia has a commitment to service and service learning is a crucial thread running through all we do from kindergarten to grade 12.”
It is not only the students that will be reaching out to the Jeju community but the teachers as well. Though plans have yet to be ironed out, students and teachers may provide English lessons to community children and offer their assistance with environmental and other types of projects.
In an effort to make the school more inclusive “we will come out to the community but we will also have the opportunity to pick up [disadvantaged] children and bring them out to the campus,” so they can utilize Branksome Hall Asia’s state of the art facilities like its hockey rink and swimming pool.
Another big announcement was the addition of an exchange program with its mother school in Toronto, Canada, which was founded in 1903 and is a preeminent institution. The program, included in the enrollment fee, will see all grade nine girls from Branksome Hall Asia visiting and learning in its Great White North counterpart and vice versa. This will make Jeju’s branch school “world famous,” Kenny said.
“My vision, our commitment is to begin it with four weeks to six weeks, but certainly our commitment over the next few years is to make sure that the program goes for at least three months.”
The exchange program has to be “substantial,” he said, for it is not just a visit or vacation but an opportunity to be immersed in a different and vibrant culture. With the world becoming smaller, this might just be the stepping stone these girls need. The exchange is part of the curriculum and all students will be engaged in this.
Noh Hyun Jeong, a 14-year-old girl and a hopeful Branksome Hall Asia student, attended the seminar with her mother.
She said she wants to attend Branksome Hall Asia for its international qualities.
“My dream is [to be] international, so when I go to Branksome Hall Asia I think I can learn many communication skills and I can meet many foreigners and I can develop my English skills. I believe that,” she said enthusiastically.
Noh’s mother, Lee Shin Suk, said she was impressed with the school and hoped her daughter would attend. “I am looking for personality developed education and now with the world you can’t just stay in Korea anymore, so I hope it will give her a global mind.”
Along with reaching out to the local community, the other purpose of the hour-long-seminar was to inform parents of the school’s International Baccalaureate program (accepted at prestigious universities worldwide), and to discuss its curriculum from junior kindergarten to grade 12 among other topics like how it will embrace new technologies and new media. But most importantly, how one can apply to attend this exciting new school.
Glen Radojkovich, the school’s deputy principal, walked the audience through the two-part “holistic assessment,” consisting of an English comprehension and math test (called the SSAT), and an interview where social skills and independence are looked at. When it comes to younger students, one’s readiness to begin an international school is also weighed.
With the SSAT being the first step for students grade six to 10 and a Branksome Hall Asia assessment for kindergarten to grade five students in the application process, contact Branksome Hall Asia to arrange.
A special “in house” assessment session is scheduled on March 10. While students six to 10 sit the assessment, parents can attend a Q. and A. session being offered by the Branksome Hall team.
The application deadline for scholarships is April 27. Successful applicants will be contacted by May 4 to arrange for an interview. Click here for the application for or contact Branksome Hall Asia at +82-2645-68405.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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