Aidan is a proud graduate of Balmoral Hall School’s Class of 2020 as well as the BH Blazers prep hockey program. She came to us from La Salle, Man., where she grew up with her two sisters and single father, Chad. During Grade 9, she says she was “floating around the hockey system and didn’t know where to go next.” She had been trying to move up a level and notes “it was honestly just luck that BH found me at the right time.” The Blazers’ roster is usually set months in advance, but a spot had become available mid-summer.
Head Coach Sarah Zacharias ’08 remembers: “I sat down with Aidan and Chad to discuss the school and hockey program. There are times that I meet with families who are solely interested in coming to the school for the hockey program, which, in my opinion, isn't the right reason. I knew right away that wasn't the case with Aidan. I had asked first if she likes school, and, without skipping a beat, she replied, ‘I like school, sure, but I love learning.’ From that point on, I knew Aidan was going to be a great fit for both the school and hockey program. She is inquisitive, a critical thinker, a very talented athlete, and has grown up with a great role model in her father.”
When Aidan visited for a tour, she was awestruck. “Balmoral Hall is such an amazing facility and so forward-thinking. It really is out of this world. Goals are set so high for every student, by ourselves and the school community, not to mention that the quality of education is a step up.”
Coach “Zack” shares: “Chad phoned me shortly after our initial meeting and tour of the school. He said as soon as they walked out the doors, Aidan looked at him and said 'Dad, I want to graduate here.'"
Aidan remembers vividly that she and her Dad were in a gas station when they got “the call,” and she was smiling from ear to ear, but her Dad was hesitant, warning her not to get her hopes up because of the financial stretch to commit to a BH education. “It will be a miracle if we can make it work,” she recalls him saying. Aidan’s family was offered tuition support
(financial aid) as well as bursaries from the Margaret Clarke Jones and the Girls of Promise funds to help reduce tuition and fees, all thanks to donors who support the Foundation
. Making it possible for her to enrol, Aidan started Grade 10 a few weeks later.
“When I was in Grade 9, I was not doing well in math; at 61% I just thought I was bad at math. When I came here for Grade 10, I aced every test. Although poor habits made the transition hard, as they improved, so did my grades overall. At the end of Grade 10, I was recognized for my improvement and received the Terry Fulton Baillie bursary for rural students with a passion for math. It was so motivational! I knew then that I wasn’t a 61% student. I was capable of more. To me, this place is where people want to help you reach your potential and meet your goals. You see it every year as it’s incredibly empowering to see graduates aspire to reach lofty goals and go on to out-of-province and out-of-country post-secondary opportunities.”
Reflecting on her first assembly at Balmoral Hall School, Aidan recalls thinking: “This is where I want to be.”
“BH makes you want to be a better student. It’s a safe place to grow up, and I developed real-life skills like how to carry myself when presenting in front of an audience. My Dad tells me: ‘You’re double the person I was at your age.’
“It was such a blessing to go to Balmoral Hall. For me, it was a perfect fit, and that gratitude sits in my heart so deeply. I love my BH family, and I cannot thank the donors enough for the difference they made in my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Asked if she felt different from other students as the recipient of financial aid, Aidan quickly and sincerely responded: “No. It’s a fair environment, and I felt everyone was equal. Of course, teenage girls have a lot to say, but I knew the adults would make sure to stop any negativity, and they did.”
Graduating last spring, Aidan said she was ready to move on from here, not needing Balmoral Hall School anymore because we had done our jobs. Now, Aidan is studying at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon, Man. and plays for the Cougars women’s hockey team.
As her first gesture to give back for the help she received, Aidan has offered to volunteer, when it’s safe, to be on the ice with students in our Academy (BHA) for aspiring prep hockey players.
Aidan, we wish you all our very best, and your BH family is forever proud of the young woman you have become!