By Vanessa Broadbent
For 2018 Southern Okanagan Secondary School graduate Simi Gill, all the late nights studying paid off.
On Tuesday, Gill was awarded the Governor General’s Academic Medal after getting the highest marks in her class.
Now she’s heading off to Vancouver to study sciences at the University of British Columbia.
“It’s a good confidence booster for sure, and it makes me want to work harder,” Gill said. “Knowing that I can do this, I know I can do the next couple steps forward. The hard work paid off.”
The Governor General Award was implemented in 1873 and is now considered the most prestigious awards Canadian students can receive.
“It’s a huge honour,” SOSS Principal Tracy Harrington said. “What we do is take the graduating class and take all of their top marks and calculate it, and Simi landed on top.”
Used to the small town life, Gill said she’s most anxious about adapting to UBC and Vancouver’s high population.
“Everyone knows everyone here and it’s a community. You walk in and see smiling faces.”
However, she said that UBC comes with more opportunities, including a scholarship to complete a research project of her choosing.
“It feels like a larger place with more opportunity.”
Gill plans to live on campus while completing her Bachelor of Science, possibly with a major in biochemistry and a minor in microbiology. After that, she plans to go to medical school.