Student Spotlights

Belle Thompson

Meet Belle Thompson, the Palliser Beyond Borders (PBB) 2022 valedictorian. Belle joined PBB in grade 10 after seeing the positive impact it had on her older sister. She enjoyed the flexibility and spent her last year taking PBB courses while simultaneously attending a ministry school. “PBB provides me with the option of working when it is convenient for me.

It can be difficult to focus for long periods of time, Belle enlisted the help of her family to maintain a strong and consistent focus in an environment that is much freer than a traditional school. She also appreciated the time PBB staff invested in her learning.  “The PBB teachers and staff became my friends, mentors and confidantes,” says Belle. “My high school experience turned out to be infinitely better than I would have ever expected, and it is all thanks to the staff that deeply cared about the success of their students.” 

When asked how it feels to be the 2022 PBB valedictorian, Belle says it doesn’t seem real. “High school is a journey and it comes with its ups and downs. I would have never been able to succeed the way I did in graduating one year early without the support of my teachers and mentors. I feel so honoured to be the PBB 2022 valedictorian.” 

After graduation Belle is taking a year to breathe, enjoy life, and see where it takes her. She plans to continue in her ministry and work to become a writer. “I’m excited to explore life as a free individual,” says Belle. “All the possibilities of the world are laid out in front of me, and I get to choose where I go. In my opinion, that is thrilling.” 


William Sparkes

After joining Palliser Beyond Borders (PBB) in February 2022, fourth grader William Sparkes, went from dreading school to being excited to go to class. “He’s happy & engaged now & even makes sure that he’s on time,” says his mother Shantelle. “He has grown so much since switching that I wish I would’ve done it sooner.” 

In our online environment we have lots of socialization opportunities. From completing virtual escape rooms with his classmates, lunch hour clubs, independent and collaborative group projects, virtual field trips (with one of his favourites learning about the fossil records with Telus Spark), William has created new friendships with students from around the world. Outside of class time, he has friends come over to play or he heads to go to a park, swimming or biking. 

He enjoys learning with his online class and has the flexibility to decompress however he chooses during break times. His learning has excelled under his online teacher and his family has loved the entire experience.

Tomas Truba

Mature student, Tomas Truba, was triumphant as he finished his last diploma and officially graduated from Palliser Beyond Borders (PBB).  “It’s surreal so far,” says Tomas. “This has been the most important thing and hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.” 

Tomas came to PBB to earn his high school diploma. “It’s been nagging at me for 10-12 year now.” Tomas had taken summer courses with PBB previously and decided it was the best place to return to school. 

When asked what he liked most about taking online courses he stated it was the support from his teachers. “I got so much one on one time. And being able to communicate with the teachers effectively and independently was a huge help.”

Tomas will be missing his graduation celebration due to it being scheduled the same day as his wedding. Besides getting hitched his plans for the future include entering the Nursing program at Lethbridge College, eventually ending up at University of Lethbridge. 

“I’ve gained a bigger appreciation for school,” says Tomas. “Being a mature student made a big difference in drive and communication. [Graduating] has made me a lot more confident in myself.” 

I had a great semester having you as my teacher.  I still want to thank you for being a very patient teacher with me. It is very rare to have very supportive, flexible and understanding teacher who reply very fast.

Student, grade 12

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