Commerce student receives royal treatment

Three and a half years of hard work for Erin Tomie culminates in a brief meeting with Princess Anne

Tomie and the princess.
Tomie and the princess.
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Photo supplied by Erin Tomie

After three and a half years of hard work, Erin Tomie was presented with the Duke of Edinburgh’s prestigious Gold Award by Princess Anne on Monday evening.

The Duke of Edinburgh Award is a non-competitive program for which participants set personal goals pertaining to new skills, advancement in fitness, community service and undertaking an adventurous journey.

On average, each award takes one year to complete with the Gold award taking a minimum of 78 weeks. During the process of completing the award, Tomie, Comm ’17, continued her studies in piano, was a member of her school’s cross country and ski teams and volunteered at Sault Ste. Marie’s ski club and musical theatre classes at Korah Collegiate.

In addition to completing the award, the Duke of Edinburgh society requires a tremendous amount of paperwork to be completed in order to verify the level of activity and serve as proof of her work.

“I was getting reviews from the different mentors I was working with,” Tomie said.

Princess Anne presented the 90 Gold award winners from across the country with a pin, a certificate and congratulations during the 90-minute ceremony held at the historic Fairmont Château Laurier in Ottawa.

“To have the event with someone as regal as Princess Anne made the whole thing feel so much more special, especially because a lot of people just get their certificate in the mail,” she said.

“We saw Princess Anne for the first time and the first thing that came to mind was, ‘Wow, she looks so much like Queen Elizabeth!’ A younger version, of course.”

Each participant had 30 seconds of private face time with the Princess, during which she asked each person a different question.

“My time with Princess Anne is all a blur, I was so excited,” Tomie said. “She asked what was up next for me and said she hoped I got some fun out of it.

“Most people receive the award from the Governor General, so I was really lucky to meet Princess Anne as well.” This award is the culmination of its participants hard work and dedication to their communities, and this ceremony “makes everything worth it,” Tomie said.

Because the royal family has many responsibilities, the Gold award winners had to wait two years until Princess Anne was available to host the ceremony.

“Having someone that important and busy take time out of their schedule to not just meet everyone, but also shake their hand, and ask each person a different question,” she said.

“She had something new to say to everyone, which just made it all the more special.”

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