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Students recognized for perfect diploma marks

There’s a recurring theme among Rocky View Schools (RVS) students who score 100 per cent on their diploma exams ­– while the students excel academically, they are almost always heavily involved in extracurricular activities, as well.

That was the case for two Bert Church High School students recognized Nov. 14 by the RVS Board of Trustees for achieving the perfect score on a diploma exam in June.

Airdrie’s Kyle Middleditch and JT Luterbach were among the eight students from the division who achieved the perfect mark, and were invited to attend the Board of Trustees meeting.

Middleditch, now a first-year student at the University of Calgary, earned 100 per cent on his biology diploma, as well as 98 per cent on his chemistry final.

“I’ve always enjoyed the different sciences, and liked all three subjects,” the 19-year-old said.

“I tried to take as good of notes as I could throughout the school year, so when it came time to study for the diplomas, it was easier to recall. Beforehand, I did practice questions and went through all those notes again.”

While studying at Bert Church, Middleditch was also involved with FIRST Robotics for four years, and even captained his robotics team – comprised of students from Airdrie and Calgary ­– to a second-place finish in its division at the 2019 FIRST Championship in Houston, Texas in April.

According to its website, the FIRST Championship “brings tens of thousands of students from around the world who participate in our K-12 robotics programs” to compete in a challenge-based competition.

Middleditch said he enjoys the problem-solving aspects of robotics.

“They gave you a challenge and you had to build a robot to complete those challenges to the best of your abilities,” he said. “Designing it in such a way to excel in different tasks was really fun. The challenge changed every year, so we were constantly doing different things.”

Having left high school, Middleditch is flexing his science muscles by studying geophysics and astrophysics at university. He said his objective is to pursue a career that involves space.

“That’s why I’m taking the astrophysics side of it, as well – I’m interested in astronomy and stuff with planets, black holes and all the celestial objects there are to study,” he said. “I just find that very interesting.”

A world away from the night sky that captures Middleditch’s imagination, Luterbach – who scored 100 per cent on the chemistry 30 diploma – can often be found at the Ron Ebbesen Arena for practices and games with the Airdrie CFR Chemical Bisons. The squad is the top hockey team for U17 players in Airdrie, Cochrane and the surrounding communities.

The 17-year-old Bert Church senior, a first-year member of the midget AAA team, said balancing academics with sporting commitments is a big part of his daily life.

“I think we’re very fortunate to have our practices in the morning,” he said. “That gives us a lot of time after school to focus on our academics. Making sure I’m setting aside time every day to study and get homework done, and understanding what we’re doing in class, is big.”

Considering weekend road trips are a regular occurrence in elite minor hockey, Luterbach said it’s common for Bisons players to bring homework with them when travelling.

“If we’re doing a novel study in English, guys will have their book and read the chapters on the bus, or bring some text books along to do homework,” he said.

He credited tutoring his peers and taking practice exams for helping him ace the chemistry diploma.

“The year before, I wrote my math diploma, so I knew how those tests work,” he said. “Practice tests were a thing I used a lot, because they put you in a more realistic situation. If you’re just reading the notes, you think you know it, but practice tests will [better] test your knowledge.”

Luterbach said his goal is to pursue a career in junior hockey before attending university.

“I definitely want to keep playing hockey, so I’m going to keep working towards that,” he said. “But after hockey, university will be a big part of my life. I’m interested in engineering and physics for post-secondary.”

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