Aspire To Action
We Walk With Autumn Peltier
Water Walkers
Water Walk Haley
Water Walk Earth Day
Water Walk Climate Action
Water Walk April 22
Victoria Pride
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U'Mista Cultural Centre
Spreading Kindness
Simms Park Women's Memoral March
Red Dress 8
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Pink Shirt Day Aspire Crew
North Island Secondary
No More Stolen Sisters
Love Kindness Service Aspire to Action
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Aspire to Action

Are You…

  • Interested in Social Justice causes like 2SLGBTQ+ rights or anti-racism?
    • Curious about how to solve problems in your local community?
    • Wanting to make a real difference on a global level?
    • Concerned about Environmental justice issues?
    • Interested in Indigenous issues and history?
    • Excited about learning outside of the classroom?
    • Interested in taking field trips outside the Comox Valley?
    • Wanting to maximize your credits and fast-track your graduation?
    • Passionate about leading school campaigns to raise awareness?
    • Captivated by listening to guest speakers sharing their experiences?

The GP Vanier Aspire to Action Program is a unique opportunity for highly motivated senior students to pursue the traditional academic requirements in an integrated and blended studies program that combines academics with experiential learning in the community. The program runs during semester two at Georges P. Vanier Secondary School and is open to all grade 11 and 12 students.

Empathy, compassion, connection, and volunteerism are at the heart of this program. Students engage in service learning, experiential learning, and create awareness campaigns that seek to educate others.

This program requires students to think critically and empathetically. It also involves students working in a team atmosphere while learning in the classroom and on the land. Students will have the opportunity to listen to an array of guest speakers and take part in field trips. Students are members of an inclusive team that create memories to last a lifetime.

The Aspire to Action program offers 18 credits towards graduation and courses consist of: Community Outreach and Action 11/12, English First Peoples 11/12, Genocide Studies 12 or Comparative Cultures 12, Social Justice 12 or Political Studies 12, and Capstone. Students will also acquire their 30 Hours of Volunteerism needed for graduation. See Course Content page for more detailed course descriptions.

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank

During Aspire, students will complete the following:

Community Outreach and Action 11/12 (4 credits)

English First Peoples 11/12 (4 credits)

Genocide Studies 12 or Comparative Cultures 12 (4 credits)

Social Justice 12 or Political Studies 12 (4 credits)

Capstone (2 credits)

30 Hours of Volunteerism for Graduation

Indigenous Graduation Credit


Community Outreach and Action 11/12

This course prepares and motivates students to provide outreach within their school and community. Students will learn to take initiative and participate in creating positive change in the community. Students will develop an understanding of the social programs in the community and the impact that these entities have on assistance and outreach towards groups or individuals in need. Students will also learn communication skills, leadership skills, conflict management skills, teamwork skills, and develop interpersonal relationships. In addition, students will also learn the value and complexity of social diversity and inclusivity while acquiring an appreciation of the importance of helping others. During this course, students will complete their 30 Hours of volunteerism and Capstone needed for graduation. Students will also participate in a variety of awareness campaigns: Black History Month, Red Dress Project, Pride Month, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, Refugee Rights Day, etc.

English First Peoples 11/12

First Peoples Literary Studies 11/12 is intended for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. It represents an invitation to all learners to explore and discover First Peoples’ worldviews through the study of literary, informational and media text with local, Canadian and International First Peoples’ content. The class is the academic equivalent of English Language Arts 11/12. With an emphasis on Indigenous topics, authors and a wide scope of applicable literature, the course allows students to delve more deeply into literature as they explore specific themes, periods, authors, or areas of the world through literary works in a variety of media.

Genocide Studies 12

Does history really repeat itself? Will we ever learn from our past actions and those of others? Genocide, or the intentional destruction of peoples and their cultures, is not inevitable and such attempts can be disrupted and resisted. Despite international commitments to prohibit genocide, violence targeted against groups of people has continued to challenge global peace and prosperity. This course will examine the reasons for, local and global reaction to, and tangible actions we can take as a global community to end human atrocities. Additionally, the course will focus on the identification and categorization of genocides both past and present using theory like the 10 Stages of Genocide and Cultural Genocide. Students will explore various topics, which may include: the Holocaust, Yugoslavia, First Peoples in North America, Rwanda, Sudan, and the Khmer Rouge.


Comparative Cultures 12

Take a journey through time and gain a deeper understanding of the world in which we live. Throughout this course, students will be challenged to critically examine the foundations, patterns, and legacies of key cultures and civilizations that are integral to the composition of our own. We will make connections between the past and the present by studying the origins of human history and the development of civilizations while also exploring contemporary issues. We will examine how cultures have evolved over time with a focus on the elements of culture and cultural expression, interactions and exchange between cultures and the natural environment, as well as systems of power, authority and governance and what role value and belief systems play in the development of culture. In addition to historical perspectives, students will also use geographical, archeological, and anthropological evidence to examine the evolution of culture over time and place. There will be a range of choices for students to pursue their interests related to the areas of study through research and inquiry projects.

Social Justice 12

In Social Justice 12, we will explore both historical and contemporary injustices in Canada and globally. You will be exposed to a wide variety of topics that will allow you to gain the critical thinking and research skills needed for post-secondary. We will explore changes and continuities, interconnections, and differing perspectives and worldviews. You will be exposed to a wide variety of content that will allow you to build a personal understanding of the global state of injustices and how we are currently dealing with these issues.


Political Studies 12

This course promotes the pursuit of political studies through a social justice lens. It encourages students to develop the commitment and ability to work towards a just society in a responsible manner. The aim is to raise awareness about politics, social injustices, to analyze political decisions from a social justice perspective, and to provide knowledge, skills, and an ethical framework to advocate for a politically and socially just world. Units of study include Introduction to Politics, Indigenous Governance, Ideology, Elections, and Systems, Local, National, and International Politics, Influence, Power, and Policy, and Human Rights and the Patriarchy.

Registration / Contact Info:

To find out more about the Aspire to Action Program and how you can join, please e-mail the teachers:

Kristie Keyworth:

Dave Merrick:

Field Trips:

Comox Valley:

Women’s Memorial March, Water Walk

Chinese Canadian Museum, 2SLGBTQ+ Historical Tour, Portland Hotel Society, Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, Komagata Maru Society

Victoria Pride, Chinatown Historical Tour, Transgender Archives (UVic)

Alert Bay:
St. Michael’s Residential School Grounds and U’mista Cultural Centre

Raincoast Education Society, Indigenous Sustainability and Cultural Teachings

The itineraries and packing lists are based on past trips and may be subject to change. Students and caregivers will be given a list prior to each trip. ​

*The program contains additional costs for overnight course activities in Vancouver and Victoria that can be offset by fundraising opportunities during the program.

* Any students and families who are unable to pay the associated fees can contact Mr. Merrick and arrangements can be made to ensure money is not a barrier to this program.

Staff Bios:

Kristie Keyworth (She/Her)

Ms. Keyworth has a passion for Modern Languages, Canadian Social History, and creating an inclusive atmosphere. When Ms. Keyworth isn’t in the classroom, you will find her collecting sea glass, reading, and spending time with her family and feline companions, Luna and Poppy.

Dave Merrick (He/Him)

Mr. Merrick has a passion for History, Politics, Literature, and establishing engaging learning environments. When Mr. Merrick isn’t in the classroom, you will find him listening to Military History podcasts, drafting players for Fantasy Football, and spending time with his family and canine companions, Sammy and Bella.