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purcell collegiate school welcomes global learners in partnership with aq’am nation
Purcell Collegiate School Welcomes Global Learners in Partnership with Aq’am Nation
purcell collegiate school welcomes global learners in partnership with aq’am nation

Purcell Collegiate School Welcomes Global Learners in Partnership with Aq’am Nation

About Purcell Collegiate School

In September of 2023, Purcell Collegiate School (PCS), an international boarding school, welcomed its first cohort of 12 students from Canada, Japan and China. The students’ new home, which is located in the Kimberley-Cranbrook corridor of British Columbia, is a former residential school in the Aq’am community of the Ktunaxa Nation. 

Known as St. Eugene Mission, the building operated as a residential school from 1912 to 1970, a dark period in Canadian history. However, the Aq’am community embarked on a mission in 1992 to convert the site into an award-winning hotel, golf course and casino owned by the Ktunaxa Nation and Shuswap Indian Band. 

Today, a portion of this complex welcomes international students to reside and learn alongside the Aq’am community. PCS, in partnership with the Aq’am, offers a Grade 7-12 B.C. curriculum infused with Ktunaxa culture, language and history. The boarding school, with a capacity for 20 students, is a step towards reconciliation and cultural understanding through education. 

In a CBC article on PCS, Duncan MacLeod, head of school for PCS, poignantly reflects as “an institution that was once used in an attempted cultural genocide, is now a vehicle for students for students from around the world to learn Ktunaxa history, Ktunaxa language, Ktunaxa culture”. 

purcell collegeiate school logo[1]

Boarding at PCS

PCS is a boarding school, meaning that students will live on campus during the duration of their studies. Students will share spacious dormitories with a maximum of 3 peers while enjoying the breathtaking views of St. Mary’s River and a championship golf course. 

All dormitories include: 

  • Private bedrooms for each student, with a study desk, chair and wardrobe storage unit
  • A shared bathroom
  • Fridge to store small snacks, drinks and other items that need refrigeration 

The boarding campus also includes several common areas. These include:

  • Study/relaxation spots
  • Fitness center
  • Swimming pool
  • Outdoor spaces 

Dedicated staff provide 24/7 supervision to ensure safety and well-being, and dormitories are regularly checked to ensure cleanliness and organization. 

Why choose PCS?

PCS offers a unique learning experience for students that goes beyond textbooks. Located just a few steps away from the natural environment, students can spend their days studying and socializing in the school’s state-of-the-art campus, or take a stroll near the foot of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. 

Students can  explore their passions through courses in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields and arts while immersing themselves in Ktunaxa culture. And, of course, PCS isn’t just about academics. Student-athletes are empowered to excel both in the classroom and on the court, field or ice rink with advanced coaching and training facilities. 

How to apply

Ready to join PCS? Their online application process takes just two steps: 

  1. Reserve your spot: Secure your spot with a holding deposit through PCS’s secure Stripe™ payment system. Upon receipt, you will receive a unique login for our True North Student Registration System.
  1. Complete your application: Take approximately 30 minutes to share your details in the online application form. As there are sections requiring both parent and student consent, it is recommended that parents and students complete the application together. 
  • Note that all applicants will participate in a video interview with a member of PCS.
  • Students who have not completed an SSAT (Secondary School Admission Test) will be assessed by PCS staff by completing a general aptitude and language assessment. Students with SSAT scores can submit them along with their application for review.

Be prepared to present the following documents in a scanned or digital format:

  • Student’s valid passport and birth certificate with English translation provided
  • A personal letter of recommendation from a coach, teacher, tutor or family friend
  • Personal photos of you and your family
  • School transcripts
  • Funds for the non-refundable application fee

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Which grade levels are offered at PCS and at what times of the year are students allowed to apply? 

  1. Students in Grade 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12 are considered for acceptance. PCS maintains open enrollment, meaning that students are accepted at any time of the year. 

Q. In what way is a private independent school like PCS different from a public school?

  1. As an independent boarding school, students at PCS live on campus and are constantly surrounded by friends and classmates. Adults are nearby for a helping hand, and with a staff-to-student ratio of 1.4, students can always reach out for questions or inquiries and expect immediate assistance. Plus, the students of PCS take monthly adventures to explore the surrounding community and immersive themselves in Canadian culture. 

Q. How is PCS funded and accredited to operate within the B.C. Ministry of Education?

  1. PCS is backed by a robust financial foundation, with a dedicated group of investors who value the experiences the school offers to its international students. PCS also adheres to strict financial and operational standards rigorously evaluated and certified by the B.C. Ministry of Education and Childcare. 

Q. Can you tell me more about the daily schedule and annual calendar at PCS? 

  1. Yes! Classes run from Monday to Friday between September (the start of the academic year) and June (the end of the academic year). See here for more information. 

Q. How are students kept safe?

  1. Nestled in a friendly, peaceful and rural community, PCS’s campuses offer a safe and comfortable environment for students. All three campuses include security measures, from pass cards permitting entry to buildings and rooms, to 24/7 security staff who walk around the campuses each day. 

See here for a full list of FAQs. 

Sources: Purcell Collegiate School – About, Purcell Collegiate School – FAQs, CBC – Boarding school in First Nations community in southeast B.C. welcomes first cohort of international students
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