Northern College Student Secures Prestigious Governor General Award

November 27, 2020

HAILEYBURY, ON: Another Northern College Haileybury campus graduate has been recognized nationally for her outstanding academic achievement.

Jessica Houlachan, a graduate of the Social Service Worker program at Northern College, received the distinguished Governor General’s Award Medal this week. The prestigious award is given to a student who achieves the highest academic standing at the College in a diploma-level post-secondary program.

Houlachan was sent a framed gold foiled certificate along with a collegiate bronze medal in recognition of her exemplary achievement.

Jessica Houlachan, featured with her Governor General award certificate and Bronze Medal

“I experienced much anticipatory anxiety before starting my program; so much worry consumed me,” stated Houlachan while reflecting on the beginnings of her educational journey at the college level. “I was unsure if I would be successful with my studies. This experience has resulted in lasting friendships, erudition, and achievement but most importantly, it has filled me with pride. I have accomplished things I never thought were possible during my studies with Northern College,” she continued.

“Considering the amount of effort required to study by distance and her level of confidence that grew as she studied with us, the fact that Jessica was able to maintain the highest academic standing at Northern, and act as a peer mentor to other students is a stellar achievement,” stated Dr. Audrey J. Penner, President and CEO of Northern College of the accolade. “The bond that Jessica formed with her peers also resulted in her being selected as one of the 2020 campus valedictorians for Haileybury, another accomplishment she can be proud of over the past year.”

Houlachan has continued her post-secondary journey, building upon her success with Northern, and is now enrolled in the Honours Bachelors in Applied Science degree program through the University of Guelph-Humber with hopes to advance her theoretical development in the social service sector. With a concentration on Family and Community Social Services, Jessica intends to pursue graduate school in the future, as well, as her love of learning and self-development continues.

“The Governor General’s Award was established well over a century ago in 1873 and as such, is one of the most prestigious, long-standing awards that can be received by a student in the Canadian educational sector for exceptional academic achievement,” stated Doug Walsh, Chair of the Northern College Board of Governors, of the award. “We commend Jessica for her efforts and thank her for being an inspiration to so many of us here at Northern. We wish her the best of luck as she continues with her studies in her chosen field of study, and are certain that she will go on to impact many lives through her passion and work ethic.”

More information and a list of former Governor General’s Award recipients is available at


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