50 Grads, 50 Years

In honour of Champlain College Saint-Lambert’s 50th anniversary, we followed up with 50 of our graduates to highlight their achievements.


In honour of the Champlain Saint-Lambert’s 50th anniversary, the college has followed up with 50 of its alumni to see where their paths have led after their time in Cegep. These 50 former students have gone on to accomplish amazing things and their paths show just how much is possible for a Champlain grad.

Jamie Orchard

This Creative Arts grad covered some of the city’s most important stories for over two decades.

Jamie Orchard (Creative Arts, 1985) worked as a reporter and news anchor at Global Montreal for 23 years.

Orchard, who was laid off by Global in 2020, is now a senior advisor for public relations and media at VIA Rail Canada.

Before her career in broadcast, Orchard said she was inspired by the TV production classes she took at Champlain Saint-Lambert taught by beloved teacher Barclay Watt.

“We had a studio in the school with cameras and a sound board. We really got a very hands-on experience of what the behind the scenes of TV was,” Orchard said.

“It was a great experience and a wonderful introduction to Television and I really credit Barclay with that.”

After Cegep, Orchard and Watt remained friends and she even filled in to teach a class at Champlain in the early 2000s.

“It was super fun to be back there teaching a class I loved as a student,” she said.

Orchard knew she was interested in pursuing a career in journalism and felt drawn to print journalism, working to hone her skills as a writer. At Concordia, where she completed a Bachelor’s in Journalism in 1991, Orchard fell in love with radio.

After university, Orchard said no English news outlets in Montreal were hiring and the industry was plagued with layoffs. So she moved out to Vernon, British Columbia and worked in radio for nearly three years.

She said this experience proved to be the stepping stone she needed to land a position in her hometown.

“Once I had this experience under my belt, I was able to return to Montreal,” she said.

Orchard started working at CBC TV in Montreal in 1994 as a reporter and weather anchor. After a year, she moved to CTV News for two years being landing a career-making job at Global.

During her time at Global, Orchard worked as a morning show host, evening news anchor, news editor, senior anchor and assistant news director.

She said that being laid off abruptly in 2020 came as a shock.

“It was very hard for me when they laid me off,” she said. “I was really disappointed in the industry in general.”

Orchard said if she’d had a choice, she would have stayed the rest of her career at Global.

She said that in light of the firing of high-profile CTV anchor Lisa Laflamme, she’s hopeful that the national conversation will spark change.

“It’s very sad for the industry, the way that women are treated as they age,” she said.

When Orchard was cut loose, she said she had to make a decision about whether she wanted to stay in media or pivot to another role entirely.

She said it was a natural fit to enter into the field of communications and public relations and she was happy to take on a new challenge in this new chapter of her career.

“I’m very lucky and I’m really proud of myself for successfully making this pivot,” said Orchard.

Orchard’s advice for current students and recent grads: “Be open to everything. Be open to being surprised by what you’re going to learn. Be open to discovering what you don’t know. Cegep is an opportunity to explore everything and figure out what really lights your fire and brings your passion and choose that.”

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