Jordan Friesen is the recipient of the 2020 Award of Excellence, presented by the Saskatoon Board of Education. The annual award is given to a recent graduate who best exemplifies the vision and goals of Saskatoon Public Schools.
Friesen graduated from Tommy Douglas Collegiate with a 98.4 per cent average, but her contributions to school and community far exceed her academic accomplishments. Jordan was a member of the senior girls' basketball and volleyball teams, as well as Student Representative Council throughout her four years in high school. She was a member of the track and field team for three years, and a partner on the Unified Sport basketball team where she played on an integrated team with students from the Functional Life Skills program.
"Proof of both (Friesen's) natural abilities and incredible work ethic are exemplified through her success throughout her four years at Tommy Douglas. Her teachers and peers look to Jordan as the epitome of a true academic," wrote Tommy Douglas Collegiate Principal Dave Fisher in his nomination letter. "Jordan is a shining example of a student who is working toward excellence in all areas, and who is a leader in her community."
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.
During her high school tenure, Friesen kept busy outside of the school with concert band, club volleyball and fastball. She volunteered extensively in the community with The Lighthouse, Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre, Start2Finish Running and Reading Club, Saskatoon Public Schools Foundation Summer Reading Camp, Huskie Basketball Girls Empowerment Camp, Learn-to-Play Softball program, and the Neighbourhood Church.
"Everything she does is from a place of intention, not from a place of gaining acknowledgement or accolades," wrote Tommy Douglas teacher Jasmine Jay. "She works selflessly to take the load off others and anticipates what needs to be done before anyone can ask her. Whether it is in her community volunteering, extracurricular activities at Tommy Douglas, or in her relationships with teammates and peers, Jordan utilizes her skills to bring others up with her."
Friesen is currently attending both the University of Saskatchewan's College of Education and Horizon College and Seminary. She aspires to be a math and English teacher and coach for extracurricular activities, with an eye on educational administration in the future.
Other students nominated by their collegiate for the award are Millie Jamieson, Aden Bowman Collegiate; Abdullah Qureshi, Bedford Road Collegiate; Seba El-Baroudy, Centennial Collegiate; Yiping Xue, Evan Hardy Collegiate; Eileen Knox, Marion M. Graham Collegiate; Alexander Shipowich, Mount Royal Collegiate; Andreya Caswell, Nutana Collegiate; Shane Murphy, Walter Murray Collegiate.