Jessica McBride is the recipient of the 2021 Award of Excellence, presented by the Saskatoon Board of Education at its Jan. 11 meeting. The annual award is given to a recent graduate who best exemplifies the vision and goals of Saskatoon Public Schools.
McBride graduated from Centennial Collegiate with a 99 per cent average. She was among the top academic students during all four of her years at Centennial and received the General Proficiency Award for Grade 12 and the Governor General's Bronze Medal. She was awarded a University of Saskatchewan entrance scholarship based on academic standing, as well as the university's Chancellor's Scholarship.
"Jessica is a model student who could be called upon to responsively support members of her learning community. She demonstrated a positive attitude and an approachable manner to all she came in to contact with. Jessica's teachers describe her as conscientious and passionate, responsible, and intrinsically motivated," wrote Centennial Collegiate Principal Wendy Benson in her nomination letter.
"Jessica displayed leadership in all that she took on and this was shared by both staff and students. She always had time to support a teammate or classmate, helping them learn challenging concepts or problems. Her leadership in our learning community was always valued and appreciated by students, teachers, and parents."
McBride's involvement in extracurricular and community activities complemented her academic accomplishments and she was heavily involved in Centennial's athletics, choir, and music programs. Outside of school, McBride continued her long association with the Saskatoon Children's Choir and shared her musical ability through church. She competed with the Riversdale Athletic Club and Lightning Volleyball Club and is currently a member of the University of Saskatchewan Huskie Track and Field team.
"Jessica's transcript and resume make her high and varied achievements and engagements clear, but in my mind, she stands out most because of her character," wrote teacher Cameron Milner. "No matter how busy Jessica was with athletics, artistic endeavours, or other classes, she always did her best. She never once made an excuse because she never had to: her efforts were consistently excellent. She had unquestionable integrity."
Other students nominated by their collegiate for the award are: Aunum Abid, Aden Bowman Collegiate; Dawson Puderak and Prachi Shrestha, Bedford Road Collegiate; Mykyta Shvets, Evan Hardy Collegiate; Aesha Patel, Marion M. Graham Collegiate; Kaehlin Klassen, Mount Royal Collegiate; Kazi Raka, Nutana Collegiate; Ami Klinger, Tommy Douglas Collegiate; Oren Rotaru, Walter Murray Collegiate.
Established in 1990, the Award of Excellence is presented annually to the most outstanding graduate based on academic excellence, personal qualities, leadership, and participation. Staff members from each public collegiate nominate a graduate to the selection committee. The winner receives a $5,000 cash award and a medal. Nominated students are honoured and receive a $500 cash award.