Presentation of the Governor General’s Academic All-Canadian Commendation
Rideau Hall, Tuesday, November 8, 2016
I’m delighted to welcome all of you to Rideau Hall. What a great day to celebrate and promote healthy living through sport and smarter living through education.
Each of you strives to find a balance between higher education and competitive sports. You know that to succeed in both is no mean feat, but you also know that excellence in one area can lead to excellence in another.
This is true of athletics and academics. The hard work and discipline that is required in one field is also required in the other. And success in one emboldens you to find success in the other.
What are the secrets to success? What are the ingredients of your winning formula in both academics and athletics? They include:
A sense of teamwork.
I know how hard you have worked to develop these qualities and position yourselves for success.
One doesn’t get named as one of the Top 8 Academic All-Canadians without working very hard to attain excellence.
Getting top grades in class and competing at a high level in any sport also requires a rare combination of skills and qualities.
There is also a third dimension to success, equally as important as academics and athletics.
And that is the volunteer dimension.
All of you are already volunteering in your communities on top of everything else. And I’m sure some of your peers look at what you’re doing and ask, “You volunteer and are leaders in academics and athletics? Why do you do it?!’
The answer is you do it because you understand that volunteering is not just the right thing to do, but the bright thing. Because it, too, will reinforce your overall achievement.
Just as exercising the mind is equally as important as exercising the body, so is exercising your sense of caring and compassion for others. You learn so much, you find yourselves energized in new ways, you have a clearer sense of purpose and goals.
And if I know anything about Academic All-Canadians it’s that you’re always up for a challenge!
So my message to you today is to inspire others to get involved, not simply by joining up but by leading in volunteering and caring activities.
By being leaders in academics, athletics and volunteering, you’re discovering inner resources you didn’t know you had, and you’re helping us to change the culture of Canada by building a smarter, more caring nation.
Congratulations on being named the Top 8 Academic All-Canadians. It is a remarkable achievement and you’re an inspiration to all of us.