A Winnipeg student has received a Governor General's History Award for a story she wrote about Chinese labourers who built the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Kelsey Omaga, a Grade 7 student at Holy Ghost School, wrote and illustrated The Chinese Labourers, a story told through the eyes of a Chinese worker in the 1880s.

Her entry is the English-language winner of the Kayak Illustrated History Award, which was presented by Gov. Gen. David Johnston at a ceremony Tuesday at Rideau Hall.

"I was so shocked, and I'm so happy that I get to be here," Omaga told CBC News prior to the ceremony.

She is also receiving a $1,000 RESP for her winning entry.

The 12-year-old says she loves history, but she admits most of her friends are not as enthusiastic about the subject.

"I tell them that it's important for them to know, and that they should be interested in learning since it changed Canada and how their life is today," she said.

Also honoured at Rideau Hall on Tuesday was Matt Henderson, a teacher at St. John's-Ravenscourt School. He received a Governor General's History Award for Excellence in Teaching.