Niagara Falls grad win Governor General’s Academic Medal at Niagara College with 98% average

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Published June 29, 2022 at 3:11 pm

Niagara College Recreation Therapy graduate Jonhel Ampil, addressing her class from the podium on June 24, was the tops at Niagara College Class of 2022 with a staggering 98.046% grade-point average. (Photo: Niagara College)

A transplant from the Philippines, Niagara College Recreation Therapy graduate Jonhel Ampil was the tops of the Class of 2022 with a staggering 98.046% grade-point average.

That earned the Niagara Falls resident, who works at the local Chapel Heights retirement home, the most prestigious award a student can receive: the Governor General’s Academic Medal.


Originally from Quezon City, Philippines, Ampil worked as an occupational therapist before she and her partner left to pursue their dreams in Canada and enrol in the College’s Recreation Therapy program.

“We left our professional careers, our families, and our friends behind in the Philippines. It was a difficult path to take, but we have no regrets,” said Ampil in a powerful speech during the convocation ceremony.

“Our decision three years ago has led us to today, our graduation, and it has led me to where I am standing right now proving that dreams do come true.”

Ampil addressed her fellow graduates – including her partner who graduated from the same program that day – and recounted how she overcame challenges as an international student during the pandemic.

“The experience has taught me so much about life and I believe I am stronger for it today,” she said.

To her fellow graduates who also persevered to achieve their goals, Ampil said, “Graduation is not the end but the start of a new chapter for us. Keep dreaming, believing, and surviving!”

The College’s top graduate also had a special message for her mother watching from her home country.

“We did it, Ma!”

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