Grade 11 student ready to make the world a better place

Empowering exceptional youth - that is the goal of the SHAD program and one Red Deer student will have the opportunity to experience that this summer.

Kaden Nivens, 16, had a bucket list moment recently after finding out he was selected for SHAD, an award-winning enrichment and entrepreneurship program and network that empowers exceptional high school students. The program allows students to recognize their own capabilities and envision their potential as tomorrow’s leaders and changemakers.

“I’m looking forward to the adventure - being able to experience the East Coast culture and being able to make a difference and meet people of a similar mind and get immersed in that idea that I can make a difference to those around me,” said Nivens, who is a Grade 11 student at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School.

SHAD provides 900 students across the country and internationally with an opportunity to attend a STEAM-based (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) month-long program, in-residence at one of the host universities. Nivens will be going to Memorial University of Newfoundland from July 1-31.

Nivens will have the opportunity to experience an immersive program of lectures, workshops, projects and activities. Speakers throughout the month will include top university professors, business leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators as well as inspiring students.

“I saw a video presentation on SHAD and it was incredible. I immediately knew I wanted to be part of this,” said Nivens. “The program is really focused on leadership and it’s very hands on. It’s not only about having good grades and being able to solve classroom problems, but being able to solve real-world problems.”

Nivens, who would like to go into the field of medicine, first applied to the program in November and heard that he was accepted in February. In March, Nivens received a second package with a list of the 16 universities the program is run at across Canada. Nivens was asked to rank them in terms of his top choices of where he’d like to attend.

“All my top choices were on the East Coast,” he said. “It’s somewhere I’ve never been. I’m doing this because I was to experience this great program, but I also want to go on an adventure.”

Nivens said when he first arrives at the program, participants will be put into groups where they will be given a real-world problem. Throughout the month, they will develop a presentation on how to solve that problem, with bonus points being given if students can build a working prototype out of the solution.

“In the video I saw people who I could really relate to. The kids were talking about how they want to make a difference and are involved in extracurriculars - I was like, ‘That’s me!’ I knew it was something I need to be part of. Using this, I can really make a difference.”

Dan Lower, Principal of Lindsay Thurber, said he is extremely proud of Nivens.

“The aim of SHAD is ‘empower exceptional youth to make the world a better place.’ Kaden is an example of the great students that we have at Lindsay Thurber. He has desire to make the world a better place, and this unique opportunity to real world problem solve will help him achieve his goal, he said. “We are proud of Kaden for taking the chance on going through the selection process and look forward to hearing about his experience.”