North Vancouver School District
the natural place to learn©
Jun 27
Carson Graham - Work Experience

By Holly Castle, Work Experience Facilitator, Carson Graham Secondary 

It was quite the year at Carson! There are so many accomplishments worthy of significant praise that highlight the hard work, dedication, and ambition of our Carson Graham students enrolled in Work Experience, a Grade 12 elective course, available to students in Grade 10, 11, and Grade 12.

I congratulate all our Work Experience students on their placements, and am pleased to share some of the following success stories from this year's student placements:

RCMP Academy:


The NVSD has a long-standing partnership with the RCMP, and has a vigorous academy dedicated to youth, whom aspire to a career in law enforcement. This year, Carson was represented by work experience student, Adam Frost - a grade 12 student with incredible commitment at obtaining his goal of being a future RCMP.

The Academy was a grueling eight-day undertaking, not for the faint of heart.  4:00 a.m. morning drills, late evening squad drills and classroom time in-between rounded out the experience. The academy provides students with hands-on, real-life scenarios, and prepares them for a life of crime prevention, community partnerships, and life-long friendships with like-minded youth.

Upon returning to school, Adam expressed to me that attending the academy was the BEST experience of his life!  

I look forward to seeing Adam achieve his post-secondary goals after completing schooling in Law Enforcement, and continuing on towards becoming a RCMP member.  Way to go, Adam!

Synthesis Design Inc.:

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A passion to create, design and implement ideas to "pen & paper" are just a few ways to describe the motivation & drive that fuels Work Experience students, Pablo Esquivel (grade 12) and Rodrigo Ortiz Ochoa (grade 11), and their ambitions of becoming Architects.  

Enter Synthesis Design - a talented and dedicated design team, with North Shore roots, whose collaborative nature, fast-paced and edgy approach to the design world has earned them top-billing in their industry.  

After speaking with Synthesis Design Founder & Design Principal, Curtis Krahn, I was able to arrange for Pablo and Rodrigo to interview for an internship placement. The original concept was to select only 1 candidate for the role, but after giving convincing interviews, both Pablo and Rodrigo were successful in obtaining 6 month internships; providing them with university level experience and learning from the expertise of a team grounded in giving back to the next generation of artists, designers, and acclaimed architects.

The student's internship concluded with a final presentation of their design concepts, presented to the Synthesis Design team, myself, and the North Shore News.

Since completion of their placements, grade 12 student, Pablo Esquivel has confirmed his acceptance into the prestigious Emily Carr Institute of Design, where he will continue to challenge himself as an Artist, and work towards his goal of being an Architect.  

Grade 11 student, Rodrigo Ortiz Ochoa will be returning to his home town of Cancun, Mexico at the end of this school year, and will look forward to graduating high school next year with the powerful knowledge he gained from his placement, which will no doubt, be instrumental in his career path in the field of Architecture.

An online article was published by the North Shore News, highlighting the student's final presentation:

Best of success to both students!

Brighter Mechanical:

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A passion for cultivation and development of student interest in the Trades industry, is the definition of Brighter Mechanical! 

BC's leading plumbing re-piping company, Brighter Mechanical, has been a pivotal partner of Carson Graham and our Work Experience course.  Senior Project Manager, Ian Schutz welcomed my prospecting call, and we've been flourishing ever since with student opportunities.   Pictured above (L to R), Grade 12 students, Noah Polkinghorne, Vincent Zepedeo Capuano, and Ben McDonald were all successful in their trades placements - learning valuable skills being mentored by a great team.  All 3 students are now graduating with trades careers ahead of them. Congrats to Vincent for being offered full-time employment with Brighter Mechanical – your future looks "bright"!

Equally impressive, both Noah and Ben have also gained employment with mega-corporation, Peter Kiewit & Sons, Inc., and will be working in Fort McMurray on a bridge replacement project this summer. 


Junior Firefighter Academy:

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The District of North Vancouver Fire Rescue Service, in partnership with the District Firefighters Charitable Society, were eager to educate students in their two day cadet firefighter academy, offered annually to selected Work Experience students, District-wide.  This unique, hands-on experience allows students to be immersed into the life of firefighting, including rappelling down a building; enduring smoke-filled mock rescues, and using night vision masks to practice life saving scenarios . 

Carson students, Steele Curry, Kwame Mensah, and Taine Allen were 3 of the 12 students selected. Congratulations to Grade 12 student, Taine Allan, whom was also the successful recipient of the $1000.00 bursary, in legacy of Harvey Blair McKay. 

Huge thanks to Firefighter & Academy Organizer, Aaron Hoverd, and all District Firefighters involved with this impressive hands-on experience. Their mentorship and career development in firefighting is cultivated in students of today, starting from elementary school-age to high school!


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A strong partnership with Seaspan and Carson Graham allowed for 5 of our Work Experience students to complete their placements at the Shipyards this past year.  Grade 12 student, Valentina Crotti gained valuable insight while working in their Human Resources Department; while Hunter Knox, Michael Elton, Jacob Fraser, and Elina Raghimi worked closely with their multi-faceted Operations team assisting with various office duties.

Earlier this month, these students were fortunate to have attended the celebratory launch of Seaspan's latest vessel, which will be used by the Federal Coast Guard. It was quite the occasion!

Great turnout at the 1st Annual Carson Graham Careers Fair:


Carson students were thrilled to attend our inaugural Carson Graham Career Fair, which took place this past March.  It was a resounding success, with over 30 employers exhibiting their businesses, and promoting student employment.  

Over 700 students had the opportunity to visit each booth, gain employment information, and submit resumes. 

Stay tuned for the 2nd Annual Carson Career Fair scheduled for Spring 2020!


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