Tiffany Pedersen was awarded the Governor General's bronze academic medal while home in Fort Simpson for the Christmas holidays. She is seen here with flowers she received from her cousin Katrina at Thomas Simpson school's graduation ceremony in 2002. - NNSL file photo
A first-year student at Grande Prairie College, Pedersen returned to Fort Simpson in time to see Christmas Cheer, Thomas Simpson school's annual festive concert. In addition to enjoying the show and catching up with friends, she also received a surprise when principal Robert Byatt presented her with her Governor General's bronze academic medal.
Pedersen, who had the highest average among her high school graduating class, was an excellent all-around student and a thoughtful person, according to Byatt.
"In her last year she was a real leader in the school. She was student council president and very active on her grad committee," he said. "As a student she was very diligent."
Pedersen said math and English were her strongest subjects, while social studies posed the most challenges.
Now that she's in college, keeping up with her studies has become even more time consuming, she said. She devotes at least an hour per day to her courses.
That increases to three hours per day on weekends. Her diligence has paid off on assignments and exams so far.
"It's been really easy," she said.
Pedersen is enrolled in an administrative technology program. She plans to own her own business one day, an entertainment complex or something of the sort.
She said being away from her family is difficult, but having an aunt who lives in Grande Prairie softens that blow.
Then there's the distractions that come with living in a larger centre, which can be tough to ignore, she noted.
"It's a big town. You can always find something else to do besides your homework," she said, adding that she hasn't joined any extracurricular clubs because she wants to focus on her academics this year.