By Fred Sgambati (’83)
Every now and then a person arrives on campus who ticks all the boxes when it comes to defining the quintessence of an Acadia student. That person is intelligent, affable, academically adept, humble, passionate, athletic and, quite frankly, delightful.
The Acadia Alumni Association is proud to recognize and honour one such individual with this year’s The Athenaeum and Acadia Alumni Student of the Year Award: Sarah Lavallée (’22).
Graduating in May with honours in a Bachelor of Community Development with Environmental Sustainability Studies program, Sarah is a strong varsity athlete, accomplished academic and natural community builder who entered Acadia as an Arthur L. Irving Scholar. This is one of the most prestigious scholarships in Canada and is awarded based on outstanding academic achievement, passion for the environment, research interest and community involvement.
Throughout her degree, Sarah has maintained a near perfect GPA and has consistently been on the Dean’s list. A member of the Acadia Women’s Cross Country and Track Team since 2018, she recently served as team captain and earned the designation of Academic All-Canadian in each of her four years as an undergraduate. Her dedication to academics is equally as impressive. As well as being an Irving Scholar, Sarah was awarded a competitive HSRA Research Award for Summer Undergraduate Honours Research with Professor Emeritus Dr. Alan Warner. Her research focused on greenspace attachment and community resiliency in the town of Wolfville. Sarah was also nominated by her peers as Valedictorian for the Graduating Community Development Class of 2022.
“Sarah Lavallée embodies the qualities of ‘brightest and best’ that we often ascribe to Acadia University students,” says Acadia Alumni Association President Donalda MacBeath (’75). “Her abiding humanity, intelligence, curiosity and commitment to community development represent the values that our Association encourages and embraces, and I’m delighted to acknowledge her as the 2022 recipient of The Athenaeum and Acadia Alumni Student of the Year Award.”
From her first year of university, Sarah has immersed herself in the Acadia and Wolfville communities. Activities have included: organizing students to attend dinners at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market; collecting and distributing food from local businesses to students in need; developing an Irving Scholar Woodland Trails monitoring program that will be used well into the future; and leading multiple Mindfulness Hiking Groups on the Acadia Woodland Trails to promote mental health, to name only a few.
As she looks to the future, Sarah leaves a significant and meaningful legacy that will benefit many Acadia community members and constituent groups for years to come.
Pictured (left to right): Sarah Lavallée ('22), Acadia Alumni Association President Matt Rios (’14) and Past President Donalda MacBeath (’75).