Getting to Know You: Members of the CAC

We had the pleasure of sitting down with two members of the Canadian Advisory Committee (CAC), Bryan McKenzie '91 and Jess Mall '07, to chat about their experience at NJC and their involvement in volunteer work.

Enjoy getting to know these two members of our Canadian Advisory Committee.
As alumni what are your fondest memories of NJC?

BM - My fondest memories of NJC are all tied to the life-long bonds forged among people who are sharing a major life experience.  Whether it be navigating pension life, learning that signature experiences like the Hahnenkamm (I missed it) or Oktoberfest (I went) are not to be missed, comparing notes on digestive distress in Kenya, or figuring out how to find a place to stay in Prague as a tourist months after the fall of communism – the specific experiences actually don’t matter as much as the fact that we were all coming of age together. We all grew, changed and learned, and left NJC as better humans than when we arrived.

JM - My fondest memories include the incredible sense of independence I felt commuting to school by train each day, alongside the larger adventure of mastering travel through Europe in general.  Above all, living with a Swiss family and being immersed in Swiss culture.

How do you hope your time on the CAC will impact NJC?

BM - My main goal in joining the CAC is to make sure everyone who needs to know about our great community and school offerings knows about them.  I am very grateful that the other CAC members turn to me for advice in my field (marketing) and that I have the opportunity to collaborate with the school’s dynamic staff on growing NJC back into its enrolment sweet spot.  Interesting fact: over 60% of NJC students have some family or friend connection to the school.  Please let everyone you know with young adults of a pre-NJC age about your own experiences – help us share the magic!

JM - My commitment to volunteering on the CAC is driven by a desire to ensure the school's viability for future generations. By drawing on my personal experiences and understanding of the school's unique environment, I aim to help shape strategies that attract and retain students, securing the opportunity for them to enjoy and benefit from the same enriching experiences that were so formative in my own life.

What would you say to alumni or community members wanting to volunteer their time with NJC?

BM - The best and most rewarding volunteering happens at the intersection of things people are uniquely passionate about and things people are uniquely talented at.  If your passion for the NJC experience and community runs deep get in touch with us – we’d love to find a way to bring your knowledge, experience and perspective to bear on the opportunities and challenges facing NJC as we navigate the future of our school and community.  Also: the other volunteers and NJC staff I’ve met while on the CAC and previously while I was on the Alumni Engagement Committee have universally been interesting and talented people that I am grateful to know and work with.

JM - I would encourage alumni and community members to consider volunteering with NJC as a rewarding opportunity to give back and help shape the future of this amazing and unique institution that offers such transformative experiences for young people. Volunteering is also a great way to stay connected with the school and to meet talented professionals who are equally passionate about NJC.

What is your #1 travel destination in Switzerland or Europe?  

BM - I’m craving a return to Verbier one day – if we got up early and timed the trains right, we used to be able to pull off a day trip there from Neuchâtel.

JM - So hard to pick but Zermatt will always stand out in Switzerland for me, as well as the Loire Valley in France.
Neuchâtel Junior College offers the unique opportunity to study Canadian curriculum abroad. While living in Switzerland in a French community, students enjoy an international education through travel and experiential learning in Europe. Gap year and Grade 12  high school students gain international experience and develop independence and life skills that prepare them for university and the global workplace.

A Canadian high school in Switzerland | Grade 12 & Gap