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Maxwell International School

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Maxwell International School (formerly Maxwell International Baháʼí School) was a co-ed Baháʼí school located on Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia, Canada. It offered boarding students and day students instruction from grades 7-12. Its educational philosophy was based on the principles of the Baháʼí Faith. Students attended from all over the world. The school closed on its 20th anniversary in 2008.


Maxwell International School was established in 1988 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baháʼís of Canada in honour of May and William Sutherland Maxwell, two of the earliest Baháʼís in Canada. William Maxwell was one of Canada's premier architects in the late 19th century and was responsible for many buildings. The Château Frontenac in Quebec was one he and his brother worked on while the Shrine of the Báb in Haifa, Israel was his last design.

In 1988 the school was opened with guest of honour Amatu'l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum (Mary Maxwell, daughter of May and Sutherland) and wife of the Baháʼí Faith's Guardian, Shoghi Effendi. A tree was planted in dedication to the opening of the school. In the early 2006-2007 school year, the school board decided to drop "Baháʼí" from its name, changing it to "Maxwell International School".

On 22 November 2007, the Cowichan News Leader and Pictorial reported that the school was to close in June 2008.

The school did close in 2008 leaving many of its students, faculty members and alumnus saddened. The school was directed to close by the National Spiritual Assembly of Canada after it was decided that the NSA could no longer afford to operate the school at such a large deficit. Initially the Parent Teachers Association put together a proposal to recreate the school as a private enterprise/corporation independent of the funds of the Baha'i Faith, however their attempts ultimately proved to be in vain. Many of the former students transferred to Nancy Campbell Collegiate Institute, the only other Baha'i international school in Canada. In 2009, the school property was sold to new owners who formed the Dwight School, which later changed its name to Brookes Shawnigan Lake in 2016.

Learning program[edit]

Maxwell provided an accredited academic program for grades 7–12, leading to Canadian high school graduation certification.

Learning programs included a spiritual view of humanity, a use of practical, integrative, theme-based projects, the encouragement of creative and artistic expression, and the use of service learning. The average student/teacher ratio was about 9 to 1, and two computer labs with high-speed Internet connections supported the curriculum.

Special programs[edit]

Maxwell offered English as a Second Language (ESL) programs aimed at students from non-English speaking countries. The ESL program allowed its students to learn in an academic environment while using practical application in everyday life.

The Maxwell Dance Workshop used the dynamics of dance, music and drama to propose insight and solutions to many of the critical issues challenging today's young people. Established at Maxwell International Baháʼí School in 1989 as a non-profit, educational, performing arts program, the Workshop performed for thousands of children, youth and adults in schools, colleges, universities and community events. The performers were students from grades 7 through 12 who came from diverse countries, religious and cultural backgrounds.

External links[edit]

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Coordinates: 48°38′10″N 123°37′47″W / 48.6361°N 123.6296°W / 48.6361; -123.6296

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