Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School (PSO) 2011 graduate Jay Matlock was the recipient of the Governor General’s Academic Medal, awarded each year to the student graduating with the highest grade point average (GPA).
“It’s really an honour. I achieved it with a lot of continuous hard work and lots of study, and by making sure I was interested in the courses I took.”
Also a valedictorian, Matlock received his Governor General’s award for academic achievement from School District 27 superintendent Diane Wright at the graduation ceremonies on May 27.
Later, Matlock said he had some close competition.
“I was surprised. I wasn’t sure I had the highest average [grades].”
PSO principal Vic Brett was pleased when he explained that Matlock and graduated with a 96.7 per cent GPA.
“He had 19 classes in his senior year, and we’re talking pretty doggone academic classes for Jay, as well.”
With parents who are both teachers and helped him occasionally in his studies, Matlock explained he’s self-motivated.
“I would hang out with friends for a while and go to the gym, but then I’d just study on my own initiative.”
The medal-winning grad also scored some large scholarships to set him on his way to an engineering degree, which he plans to take at University of Victoria (UVic), beginning this fall.
A letter from the university originally came announcing he had been awarded a UVic scholarship of $16,000, he said, but then another arrived stating he had been upgraded to a $26,000 Excellence Entrance Award (EEA).
The EEA will provide Matlock $6,500 each year he is enrolled for up to four years, providing he maintains a certain GPA.
Combined with UVic’s $1,000 Come to Campus grant, $1,200 from the Cariboo-Chilcotin Teachers’ Association and a $1,000 Dogwood District/Authority Award, Matlock has earned almost $30,000 in scholarships.
The engineering degree he plans to pursue will be either mechanical or electrical, he explained.
“I might want to be an entrepreneur, or work for a company, I’m not too sure.”
Brett noted Matlock has been involved with a lot of activities around the school in leadership roles.
This included participating in PSO’s Leadership Class, Dry Grad Committee and volunteering with numerous fundraisers, dances and music events.
Matlock said he’s a regular golfer and would like to keep that up through university, along with some of his other interests.
Once his engineering degree is under his belt, he added his goal is to travel the world.
He has a head start, as the grad said he has already been to Europe twice on PSO educational trips, as well visiting Mexico, Alaska and Hawaii with his family.
“I don’t really like to leave home because I’ve lived here all my life, but I’m definitely looking forward to the next few years.”
His advice for next year’s grads: “Work hard, and make sure you’re doing something you’re interested in doing.”