May 21, 2014

Sierra Howald, a grade 12 student at Sudbury’s École secondaire du Sacré-Cœur, was awarded the Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers during a Ceremony held on May 14 in the Ontario Lieutenant-Governor’s Suite. The Honorable David C. Onley was on hand to present the award to seven exceptional youths selected from over 300 candidates. Sierra received this prestigious award in recognition of her community involvement that has an impact on many of her fellow citizens.

Sierra, now 17 years of age, has strengthened her community through her involvement as a judo instructor at the YMCA for almost five years. She has also supported the Human League Association, Sudbury’s Summerfest Festival and the Hannah Lake Bible Centre. Her volunteerism began by stocking shelves at the francophone bookstore Librairie Grand ciel bleu when she was 11 years old.

Sierra started learning judo with her family at the local YMCA. Nearly five years ago, when the head instructor decided to move on, the program was in jeopardy of shutting down. Although only in grade 8 at the time, Sierra saw an opportunity to pay it forward and help out. Her decision saved the judo program and enabled it to grow into what is now the Sudbury YMCA’s largest volunteer-run program. With Sierra’s involvement, the program has grown from one to six classes a week, teaching 120 kids and making bilingual classes possible thanks to Sierra’s French-language skills and translation services.

Sierra is also an energetic volunteer with Sudbury’s Human League Association, which raises funds for school breakfast programs and facilitates access to organized sports. This Sacré-Coeur student’s leadership, patience and community engagement have not only provided Sudbury youth with a positive role model, but have improved access to healthy and productive options for their extra-curricular time.

“Sierra is an outstanding student who has had a huge impact in our community through her involvement and her desire to support others and help children reach their full potential,” stated Paul Henry, École secondaire du Sacré-Cœur principal. “Students and staff at Sacré-Cœur take great pride in seeing a fellow Griffon honoured by Ontario’s Lieutenant-Governor. We consider Sierra as being an outstanding Catholic and Francophone leader who reminds us all of the importance of sharing our skills with others and contributing to the well-being of our community.”


The Conseil scolaire catholique du Nouvel-Ontario offers a French Catholic Educational Program that is widely recognized for its excellence. The CSCNO provides a quality learning environment and academic program that runs from early childhood to adult education, with some 7,000 students enrolled in 27 elementary and 10 secondary schools.



Paul de la Riva
Communications and Community Development Coordinator
Conseil scolaire catholique du Nouvel-Ontario
(705) 673-5626, ext. 294
(705) 677-8195 – cell phone