While Welkin College got its start in South Korea, the Coombs-area prep school today welcomes students from all areas – including the Island! – in its quest to be a truly international school.
Founded 10 years ago as a B.C. offshore school teaching the B.C. Curriculum, Welkin College students earn their Dogwood diploma like any other student who completes the provincial requirements, says Heeweon Joo, son of the school’s founders.
From Korea to Coombs
Coming from an education and small business background, his parents had dreamed of opening their own international private school. The last year, when a change in South Korea’s government meant private international schools were no longer welcome there, concerns for their senior students’ education prompted the move to Vancouver Island.
Joo was living in Nanaimo, after taking education studies at VIU, and worked to make his parents’ dream a reality, securing the former French Creek Community School as their teaching facilities.
A unique approach
Believing that today’s students benefit from a social, hands-on, adventurous and challenging education, the school bridges project-based learning, technology, community involvement, outdoor education and extra-curricular activities for a well-rounded experience. A trimester calendar also allows students to accelerate learning to a rate that is best for them, meaning they can complete secondary school sooner and move on to the next phase of their lives.
“We work within the BC curriculum, we just have a different way of approaching it,” Joo says. “We take great care of our students and we work with them to achieve their goals.”
As a prep school, Welkin College focuses on helping students thrive at post-secondary, and to do so at their chosen university.
“As a smaller school, we can really cater to that,” Joo explains, noting small class sizes allow their BC-accredited teachers to work closely with students.
“Beginning in Grades 10 and 11, we offer career education, where students plan how to reach their goals. Because of our smaller size and our focus, as students’ goals and aspirations shift, we can shift with them.”
Their approach works.
Since opening, Welkin College’s success rate at matching students with their chosen universities is 95 per cent. “This year, of our eight graduating Grade 12s, all will be going on to their desired school,” Joo says.
The coming school year will focus on Welkin’s shift to a true international school, with a focus on global citizenship.
Other exciting changes include the option to take golf as a credit course – an alternative to traditional PE.
Staff and students also look forward to expanding their local involvement, which has seen entrepreneurship students connecting with local businesses, and building connections with the adjacent Old Country Market.
While boarding is available, it’s not required for local students, who can take advantage of a shuttle service from Nanaimo, Nanoose, Parksville and other areas.
Learn more at welkinschool.com