Little Valley: Max Ward

Age 13

Hi there, I’m Max and I was not born in St Joseph’s Hospital. I was, however, born in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, England, on the right side of a flat world map, which makes me British.

After living in Cambridge for a few years, my parents (as I could not make good decisions about cross-Atlantic trips at this age) decided that we were going to sail halfway across the globe and all the way to Canada, because that’s where Mum is from, which makes me Canadian too! We ended up in British Columbia.

When we got to Canada, after a year-and-a-half sailing through the Caribbean, Bahamas, and along America’s eastern seaboard, we sailed up and down Vancouver Island, from the Gulf Islands up to Desolation Sound. We lived aboard in Nanaimo for a while until we finally went looking for a place to live ashore.

We went to Courtenay and Comox, but wait, what’s that little place up there in the forest? Oh, it’s Cumberland! We all loved Cumberland and decided to try to see what it was like.
My sister and I started going to the Cumberland Elementary School. Since then it’s become the Cumberland Community School, but I don’t go there anymore. After a few years there, Navigate NIDES, a distance learning school in the valley, started a new program called the Fine Arts eCademy, also known as FAe. FAe is a three day a week in-class, two day a week home schooling (distance learning) program. It’s focused around the arts and performing side of things, which isn’t really my piece of cake, although my sister did like it quite a lot.

Navigate NIDES launched another program called ENTER, although I couldn’t go until I was in grade six. ENTER stands for eCademy of New Technology, Engineering and Robotics. This program was more focused around robotics and computers, which is my piece of cake.

At ENTER, we spend two days at home (Monday and Friday, oh and weekends) and the other three in the classroom. We call these “face to face” days. During the two homeschool days, we check in and out with our teacher. At the start of the day we send him an email saying what we hope to get done and what extra curricular activities (swimming, biking, skiing) we have planned. Then at the end of the day, we check out, and say what we ended up getting done. Our teacher is always there for support.

I think it’s awesome we have such choices to grow and learn in our valley and such an amazing and beautiful environment to explore and play in. While it would have been interesting to grow up in Cambridge, there is no doubt that our journey to Cumberland and the Comox Valley was a life changing and worthwhile adventure.