Marielle McGovern ’05

MSc. Media & Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science
BA North American/Environmental Studies, McGill University

Marielle started at Elmwood in Grade 7, graduating in the class of 2005. She currently works as a Community Liaison Officer with the Rideau Transit Group, and as a Communications and Social Media Specialist for Heineken USA.

Marielle is a strong supporter of a variety of charitable organizations and non-profits. Here in Ottawa, she currently volunteers as the Vice-Chair of the Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee, and is a press officer for Rugby Canada. She has also completed a 300-mile cycle from London to Paris to raise funds for the World Cancer Research Fund, and taught English in the Galapagos Islands.

We recently met with Marielle to look back at her experiences as an Elmwood girl.

Do you have any particularly fond memories of your time at Elmwood?

Well, first I should explain that when I started in Grade 7, I didn’t want to come to Elmwood. I was at a French Catholic school with both boys and girls that went until Grade 8, so my parents were taking me out before any of my friends were leaving. I remember my dad saying, “If you’re still really miserable by Christmas, we’ll talk about it again.” Now looking back, one of the best memories I have was that I completely forgot about that agreement a couple of weeks into my first year. I realized that this was the place where I would be happy, make friends and enjoy myself.

How did Elmwood affect your university experience?

Elmwood affected my university experience in a lot of ways. I went to McGill for my undergrad, and because I completed my IB exams at Elmwood I was exempted from a semester’s worth of courses, which was an unexpected bonus.

McGill is a very challenging academic institution, and I didn’t realize until I got there how well I was already prepared for it. I think that coming from an environment that challenges you academically goes a long way when you move to a more competitive place.

Elmwood also always emphasised the importance of being well rounded and involved, and of making yourself a very complete person. In university, it’s easy to focus on either all of the fun social things, or just on the academics—I think Elmwood prepared me to see value in investing time in both.

Do you have any advice for today’s Elmwood students?

I would tell the senior girls not to worry too much about what comes after Elmwood. They might not realize it yet, but they’re all being prepared for what comes next and they’re all going to do fine!

If you could pick a single word or expression to sum up your feelings about Elmwood, what would it be?

I would say summa summarum—“highest of the high”. As the school motto I know it’s pretty fitting, but it’s also very true. If you carry that with you, striving for excellence throughout your life, chances are you’ll be very successful.

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