George McDougall alumni earns international honour
The end result is typically the same when Julia Collin sets her mind to something: Success. The 2004 George McDougall graduate proved this once again as she won the coveted Duke of Edinburgh Award, Feb. 14 in Calgary.
The achievement is open to anyone between the ages of 14 and 25, who completes a number of community-oriented tasks including athletics, volunteering, skill development, residential projects and an adventurous journey.
To win at the gold level, as Collin did, a person must complete a minimum of 18 months’ involvement pursuing their interests. Collin began her path to the achievement in 2004 while at McDougall alongside her friend Heather Jenkins.
“I’m one of those people, if I set a goal, I want to achieve it,” said Collin.
The energetic young woman earned an undergrad in ancient and medieval history from the University of Calgary and a post-degree in marketing management from Douglas College in B.C. where she was valedictorian.
She also played piano and taught Sunday school at the Airdrie United Church, earned her Grade 8 Royal Conservatory Music piano certification and went on a weeklong 75-kilometre hike with Jenkins in Kananaskis Country over the years.
Another highlight of earning the award was travelling to Disneyland with the George Mac band.
“We played for all the people in front of the castle in the park,” she said. “It was a really neat experience. We got to go behind the scenes, too.”
Collin’s mother Marion said she has “huge pride” in her daughter.
“When Julia sets her mind to something, she gets it done,” said Marion. “We thought we were all done with these fancy awards and this was the topper.”
Jenkins agrees with Marion on Collin’s winning spirit.
“We did most of it together,” said Jenkins. “After I finished mine, there was a few years she focused on her work and career, but once her career got going, she got on it again and got everything completed.”
Collin plans to move back to Alberta next month and begin a career in graphic design, an industry in which her father Glen works.