Peel District School Board

Graduate credits Specialist High Skills Major program for university path, passion for medicine

​What do the words "outgoing," "mature" and "leader" have in common? They can all be used to describe University of Toronto at Mississauga's (UTM) Rucha Rabadia. The 20-year-old student is a graduate from Mississauga Secondary School's Health and Wellness Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program and is determined to become a physician.

Rabadia's passion inside school and outside of school is healthy living—a passion she partially credits to being inspired by staff in the SHSM program at Mississauga Secondary School. She has always performed well academically and participated in extra-curricular activities like lacrosse.  The Health and Wellness SHSM was an opportunity to bring her interests together.

As a student in grade 10, Rabadia was unsure what post-secondary path she would take. In 2011, teachers presented and encouraged students to apply for the SHSM's inaugural year at the school. The fact Co-operative Education was included in the program was the deciding factor for Rabadia. She knew it was a perfect fit for her.

"The SHSM program provided me the opportunity to bring my passions together and gain an advantage after high school," says Rabadia. "In the Health and Wellness program, hands-on opportunities were a part of every class and assignment. The real-life experience provides students with an understanding of what post-secondary and work life will be like."

Students in Mississauga's Health and Wellness SHSM program learn the same content as students in the regular program—with a specialized focus in health and wellness and a Co-operative Education component. The SHSM program also provides students with an opportunity to gain sector-specific and career-relevant certification and training as they work towards the SHSM seal diploma. For example, students complete WHIMIS certification, Standard First Aid and infection control training as part of the Health and Wellness SHSM program.

Rabadia is now in her third year at UTM and a member of the St. John Ambulance division on campus, which required certification in First Aid and CPR. She plans to write the MCAT exam in summer of 2014 and apply for medical school in summer 2016, after graduation.

Students can discover their careers through SHSM programs in grades 11 and 12. Students can apply to these sector-specific programs, unique to each high school, in grade 10. Acceptance is based on grades, teacher references and the student's desired education/career path.

Peel schools offer various educational opportunities to help all students achieve, and many ways for students and their families to personalize their school experiences. From extra-curricular activities and unique courses, to entire programs devoted to an area of interest, the choices are vast and are designed with students' various needs and interests in mind. Students and their families are encouraged to speak to their guidance counsellors about what options exist that may match their interests and abilities. More information about the options available, including SHSM programs like Health and Wellness, is available at

Rucha Rabadia
"Mississauga Secondary School’s Health & Wellness Specialist High Skills Major program helps student discover her passion for medicine."