He repositioned his feet in front of the camera, adjusted the button in his three-piece suit, and after a couple deep breaths raised his eyes to the camera and spoke.
“Bonsoir a vous, messieurs, mesdames et diplomes…”
On Saturday, October 13, 2012 Gabriel Archambault ’14 was awarded the Governor General’s Academic Medal for achieving the highest GPA in his class at Collège Saint-Paul de Varennes in Varennes, Québec. Since Archambault was at Williston at the time the prize was awarded he recorded a video of his acceptance speech and sent it to Collège Saint-Paul de Varennes.
The Governor General’s Academic Medals, the highest awards given for academic achievement in Canada, are awarded at four levels: bronze for secondary school students; Collegiate-bronzer for post-secondary school students at the diploma level; silver for undergraduates; and gold at the graduate level.
In Québec, high school ends two years prior to the American equivalent. At this time, students have a number of options to choose from before attending university two years down the road. Many students continue into the Collège d’enseignement général et professionnel, or CEGEP, while others look to American private schools and gain international experience.
Before graduating with honors from Collège Saint-Paul de Varennes, Archambault was involved with both academic and athletic organizations on campus. From secondary 2 (8th grade) to secondary 5 (11th grade) Gabriel earned a certificate of distinction in the Gauss Mathematics Contest from University of Waterloo, was twice awarded the school’s prize for oral expression in French, was named MIP on the juvenile basketball in secondary 4, then named MVP on both the flag-football and basketball teams in secondary 5, and achieved the highest academic average of his class earning him valedictorian status.
Additionally, Archambault was thrice named male personality of his class and Male Athlete of the Year in secondary 5.
“Gabriel is one of the most earnest kids I’ve met, he is very mature for his age,” said Matt Spearing, Archambault’s Williston advisor. “A very genuine, upstanding young man, he always makes sure to shake a teacher’s or a coach’s hand at the end of a class or practice.”
Marc Lemieux, secondary 5 vice-principal and international baccalaureate middle years program coordinator at Collège Saint-Paul de Varennes, said, “We are extremely proud of having contributed to the outcome of a student like Gabriel.”
“I’m really enjoying it here,” said Archambault. “It’s great, I really like the atmosphere. The campus is beautiful and people are warm.”
Archambault is a quarterback on the Williston football team and is planning on going out for the basketball and track and field teams in the coming seasons.