NC’s top grad inspired by life experiences


Inspired by her young son and her own childhood, where she saw first-hand the power of social work, Sarah Danielle Greig graduates from Niagara College’s Social Service Worker program on June 23 at the head of the class.

With a 98.78% grade-point average, Greig is this year’s recipient of the Governor General’s Academic Medal, presented to the student with the highest overall academic average.

A Welland resident, Greig was born in Toronto and spent four years as a child living in South Africa, where her parents worked in an orphanage with an on-site hospice, sparking an interest in humanities and community development that eventually led her to pursue social service work as a career.

“My passion started in South Africa and maybe even before,” she said. “My mother worked at community development agencies and brought me to events where I would see the impact of her work. My interest started very young.”
Her own life experience has also contributed to her desire to help others. After becoming pregnant as a teen, she lived in Hannah House, a maternity home for young mothers in Niagara Falls, before returning to Brampton, ON, to complete high school. She was drawn to Niagara College by the hands-on nature of its Social Service Worker program, which she feels has prepared her well for her new career.

Over the summer she will work part-time as a crisis pregnancy options support worker at Elisha House in Welland, while preparing her young son for kindergarten in September. In the fall she will pursue a full-time position, and she is especially interested in the aboriginal community and community development.

To achieve such a high academic standing while raising a young son is a significant accomplishment, and Greig credits her professors and family for helping her to realize her goals.

“It’s such an honour and privilege to receive this award,” she said. “It’s taken a lot of hard work and dedication, but I cannot say that I did it all on my own. This accomplishment would not have been possible without the people in my life that have equipped me and assisted me along with way.”

The Governor General’s Academic Medal was established by Lord Dufferin, Canada’s third Governor General after Confederation to encourage academic excellence across the nation. They are awarded to the student graduating with the highest average from a high school, approved college or university program. Greig will receive the award during the Thursday, June 23, 3 pm ceremony.

Niagara College’s largest-ever graduating class will receive diplomas, certificates and degrees during Spring Convocation Ceremonies June 21-24 at the Welland Campus. Learn more here:


Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit



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