Crofton House School - a welcoming place.

Crofton House School - a welcoming place.

November 2, 2016
Julie Coghlan-Smith

In grade 9, Jastina Aujla ‘16 was a regular teenage girl, enjoying school, making friends and dreaming about her future. She had joined Crofton House School in grade 8, and a year into high school, “life was awesome,” she says with a big smile.

One fall afternoon, Jastina was sitting outside school, waiting at her regular pick-up spot. When her mother did not arrive she starting texting and calling. It was her father who finally responded. There had been a car accident, and Jastina’s mother was on her way to the hospital.

Until the day of her parents’ car accident, Jastina’s mother was the centre of the home. Like many women she balanced a full-time career with family. Jastina’s father owned and managed a contracting business, working long hours. After careful consideration, both parents had committed to giving Jastina and her younger brother an independent school education. It was a financial stretch, but the family was prepared to make the sacrifices.

The impact of the car accident was significant. A neck injury left Jastina’s mother, with a serious speech impediment and no longer able to work. Her father sustained back injuries that left him less able to manage his business.  With her parents’ incomes declining, Jastina became aware of her family’s new reality. “Grade 10 was challenging. My family had lost substantial income. I took a weekend job. I was fast learning the value of money, the cost of groceries and the cost of a school uniform.

Reluctantly, the family made the decision to withdraw both children from independent schools. Jastina recalls making an appointment for her and her mother to meet with Patricia Dawson, head of school. “Dr. Dawson was reticent to have me in the meeting,“ says Jastina. “I told her - my mother stutters, my father struggles with English. I am the eldest child, and I am the voice of the family.”  After hearing about the family's circumstance, the school, under Patricia Dawson’s guidance committed financial assistance to support Jastina on a bursary program until graduation.  

“Crofton House was always a welcoming place for me. Having secured a bursary, I threw myself into school life. I joined as many extracurricular programs as possible and focused on my studies. I spoke to all the girls and forced myself to smile to trick my brain to be happy.”  In grade 12, Jastina fulfilled a high school dream of being voted onto the school leadership team – in 2016 she was Assistant Head Girl of Crofton House School.

Jastina deeply values the education she received at Crofton House. She describes the academic program as rigorous. However, her teachers were supportive and school was a safe place. ‘Despite my struggles, I was embraced by my school peers. I had so much fun at school. I laughed my way through Friday morning student-run assemblies, studied with my classmates, and made best friends for life.”
On a full scholarship, Jastina is currently studying sciences at UBC. Her goal is to be a pediatrician. The determination and work ethic that she developed at CHS will inevitably take her a long way towards fulfilling her dreams.

New to the school, as of this year, CHS is offering a bursary program open to grade 8 applications for admittance in September 2017. The ten-year goal is to have 20% of the girls in the senior school, grades 8 through 12, receiving significant financial assistance. The best way to find out more about Crofton House is to contact the Admissions Department and book a tour. / 604 266 5423