‘High-calibre humanitarian’ earns Governor-General’s Academic Medal

Emma Dubé was pretty surprised when she got a phone call from her former principal recently.
Luckily, Wayne Friesen had good news: the 17-year-old from Comox is Highland Secondary School's Governor-General's Academic Medal winner as the school's top graduating student.



Emma Dubé was pretty surprised when she got a phone call from her former principal recently.Luckily, Wayne Friesen had good news: the 17-year-old from Comox is Highland Secondary School’s Governor-General’s Academic Medal winner as the school’s top graduating student.Dubé is doing the dual admission program at North Island College (NIC) and will go to the University of Victoria (UVic) next year. She is leaning toward studying archeology.”Archeology and anthropology is the study of people throughout time and space,” she said. “It’s a combination of art, which I love, and history and ideas and understanding people and where they came from. It’s almost like soul searching, almost understanding myself and others.”Dubé says she’s also interested in archeology because it gives you a chance to travel to other countries and learn about other cultures.Dubé, who received a $20,000 entrance scholarship to UVic, was surprised to hear she’d won the Governor-General’s Academic Medal.”It’s a total surprise, and I’m really grateful I had the opportunity to do this, to work really hard and have that nice surprise,” she said. The Governor-General’s Academic Medal is awarded to the student graduating with the highest average from a high school. Past winners include Pierre Trudeau, Tommy Douglas, Kim Campbell, Robert Bourassa, Robert Stanfield and Gabrielle Roy.Michele Genge, Dubé’s Advisory Group (AG) teacher, has been impressed by Dubé’s academic, social and musical exceptionality, she wrote in a reference letter.During her time at Highland, Dubé was an A-plus student and was on the Honours Roll every semester. She informally tutored her classmates in English 12 and Biology 12.”She not only strives for top marks; she continually looks for ways to learn more,” wrote Genge, who describes Dubé as “a humanitarian of high calibre.”She was a member of the Interact Club and has been “the backbone” of the AG’s Christmas Hamper donations, bringing in wrapped gifts and special items every year, explained Genge.”She works in quiet ways but also has a clear voice that carries weight with her peers,” she wrote. “She is the one in discussions who will stand against the tidal wave of cynicism and indifference and turn it back with her words of hope and possibility.”Dubé, an army cadet, played in the school band for years and has played in the Comox Valley Pipe Band Society and has taught snare drumming to cadets for three years and helped with the Highland Games.”Emma has many gifts and talents, so you would never imagine that she accomplishes all of this with an invisible disability,” wrote Genge. “She has been deaf in her right ear since birth.”Dubé enjoyed her time at Highland.”It was a good environment for just learning because the teachers are really motivated and really care about their jobs and want to make an impact,” she said. “I think that’s why I did so well in school, because the teachers were so relatable.”writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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