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HAP makes one happy! The amazing High School Ambassador Program

Hi, my name is Erika and I’m an upcoming grade 12 IB student at Alexander Mackenzie High School. It is currently mid July so I hope that everybody has been enjoying their summer so far and I wish everybody a great summer moving forward. As a high school student, I am constantly stressing about post-secondary applications and looking for new opportunities to spice up my resume. When the pandemic hit, it made it more difficult to find resources to help build my experiences which is why I was so glad when I found out about CPA Ontario’s High School Ambassador Program. The High School Ambassador Program, also known as HAP, is a program that grants you access to exclusive competitions and conferences that are made to aid you in building your skillset. I will first talk about the resources and then the benefits of registering for the program.


Resources

HAP provides many resources but they can all be split into 2 categories: Conferences and Competitions

  1. Conferences

CPA Ontario holds many conferences for high school students every year and they allow high school students to see their limitless potential in the business world. Students have a chance to explore the various career paths they can take and develop critical soft and hard skills that will be beneficial for their future. Interactive workshops, spotlight interviews and networking opportunities are just some of the experiences that high school students encounter by attending the conferences.

2. Competitions

CPA Ontario offers many competitions that allow students to challenge themselves in many different areas. These competitions allow students to jump out of their comfort zone and activate their creativity to create an original, entertaining, and high quality product. By participating, students get a chance to win prizes and also money for their high school business department. Students get to harness their current skills and discover new skills that they didn’t know they had before. CPA Showcase, CPA InstaChallenge, and Write to Ignite are just some of the competitions that students get to participate in.


Benefits

  1. Free of Costs

One of the many concerns that students have when registering for a new program is cost. Education can already be pretty pricey and the added costs of extra curriculars just isn’t in the budget of some families. There is a common concept that you need to pay the price in order to gain something valuable but the High School Ambassador Program defies that perception by being completely free. There are zero payments required to register for HAP and the experience is just as amazing. HAP allows students to have the resources they need without the burden of spending money.

2. Completely Voluntary

Commitment is also a very big deal for high school students. Many students have a multitude of extracurricular activities that they need to attend every week and some just don’t have space on their plate to register for another program. However, the High School Ambassador Program is completely voluntary, which means that you are not obligated to attend every single event that HAP provides. Students have access to all the resources that HAP can provide but only need to attend the events that they are interested in. The power is in the students’ hands and they get to choose how much or how little commitment they are willing to put into this program.

3. Connect with CPAs

Many in the business community can agree that having a mentor is really important. Mentors can help you figure out your strengths and weaknesses and they can help guide you in your professional career. They can push you into striving for your goal and inspire you to do things that you’ve never done before. However, it can be very difficult to find a mentor when you don’t know where to look for one. This is where networking comes into play. By attending any of the events provided by the High School Ambassador Program, students get a chance to connect and network with many CPAs who are successful in their professional career. This allows students to meet their potential mentors and learn from those who have done it before.


As you can see, registering for the High School Ambassador Program has no downsides. You get access to many resources and it comes with many benefits. Being a high school student can be stressful sometimes and it is important for us to build our experiences while also focusing on our own mental health. This is why HAP is so great because you can choose how much time and energy you are willing to spend on this program. As a closing statement, I want to wish a good luck to all the high school students and say that you're all doing amazing as being one can be hard. HAP is just an extra stepping stone that can help you reach your future goals. But, it also takes you to step on that stone to move forward in your journey.