When Maya Geerts starts school at the University of B.C. this fall, she will do as one of the country’s top students.
The Peter Skene Ogden Secondary graduate was awarded the PSO’s Governor-General’s Award, issued every year to high school students across the country with the highest marks in their school. The award is meant to recognize academic excellence, but PSO principal Geoff Butcher said Geerts exemplifies school spirit because she was involved in the student government and helped her fellow students to learn.
“An all-around an excellent student, not just academically, but all aspects of her career here have been outstanding,” Butcher said.
Geerts, who was raised in 100 Mile House and attended Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School from Grade 8-12, said it feels pretty good to graduate at the top of her class as she loves education and learning. She credited the school’s “awesome” staff for being supportive of their students and said her favourite subject was chemistry with Ms. Van Dalen because of the stories she shared and how funny she was.
During the past few months, Geerts said she felt the teachers adapted well to the situation, and even though she couldn’t attend her chemistry labs, she still felt like she was learning something.
“They came up with a new way of teaching in a week, I think, and I thought that was awesome,” Geerts said.
Geerts didn’t even mind finishing her Grade 12 year during the midst of COVID-19 restrictions, noting she liked the smaller ceremony. It was shorter than normal and because she has a small family, everyone was able to come and watch, while she was also able to catch her friends’ ceremonies on video afterwards.
“It’s definitely exciting but I did have about a week after I graduated where I was super nervous, but it feels nice to be doing something else, especially where I’m learning what I want to learn,” Geerts said.
Geerts plans to study Sciences at UBC aiming for a degree in biochemistry. She’ll be taking online classes for the first semester but hopes to live on campus in January for in-person learning. Her ultimate goal is to become an obstetrician-gynecologist but she said that’s a long time away.
“I would tell upcoming students to not focus only on their grade when they’re working through high school. To really enjoy the classes they’re taking and understand the concepts because good grades will come with that,” she said. “If they’re just focusing on getting 100 percent in every class, they’ll burn out really quickly which I experienced in Grade 11.”
Butcher maintains Geerts has been one of PSO’s top students for many years and her success comes not just from memorization but instead understanding and application of the concepts. Besides doing well in school, Geerts has been practising piano since she was five years old and played soccer for both the school team and the 100 Mile House Soccer Association.