Canada’s Premiers Announce 2016 Literacy Award Recipients

Saa Pitsiulak – Nunavut
Saa Pitsiulak is an Inuktitut language program officer with the Nunavut Department of Culture and Heritage. Pitsiulak has been an educator in Nunavut for over 30 years. She has taught hundreds of children in Inuktitut, as well as instructed adult Inuktitut literacy in community learning centres in Kimmirut and Iqaluit. Pitsiulak has gone above and beyond her day job, and has been active in creating children’s Inuktitut guided reading resources, used in all Nunavut schools. She does this on her own time, and has quietly worked for many years to create teaching materials and resources, and to give Inuktitut lessons. Pitsiulak exemplifies leadership within her community, and empowers learners to invest in their own learning.

Kenamatewin Native Learning Centre – Ontario
Katherine Shine, Executive Director of the Kenamatewin Native Learning Centre (KNLC) and her dedicated and committed staff, have demonstrated that their organization is very deserving of this award as a result of innovation, inclusion and collaboration for the multi-barriered learners in Northern Ontario. Multiple stakeholders and community partners develop a network of support for learners to reach their full potential and goal path achievements. On-site TV Ontario GED tests occur at least three times per year for 16 learners, and employed learners are teacher-supported in evening classes to achieve their GED Grade 12 certificates. As a demonstration of KNLC’s success in assisting learners, 59 certificates adorn the walls of Kenamatewin, and individuals are supported in their transition long after the one-year follow-up requirement.

Jean Ellsworth – Prince Edward Island
Jean Ellsworth struggled with reading, writing and math at school. Jobs she found paid only minimum wage and she needed and wanted a better job. She also knew she first needed to earn her high school certificate. Once Ellsworth determined this, she pursued her Grade 12 certificate through the GED Program. Preparing for the tests was complicated by Ellsworth’s major back surgery and a long recuperation period, but she emerged more determined than ever to complete Grade 12. With a great tutor, Ellsworth earned her Grade 12 certificate in 2015 and was accepted into the RCW Program at Holland College, from which she graduated in June 2016. Ellsworth has become a strident spokesperson encouraging adults without Grade 12 to follow in her footsteps with her message, “If I can, you can.”

Carolane Flamand – Québec
Since Carolane Flamand returned to school, both her parents and the staff at the Samares school board’s Pavillon l’Envol de Manawan have seen the dedication that has characterized Flamand’s pursuit of completing her training program. From the Atikamekw Nation, and at the age of 27, Flamand decided to resume her studies so she could become a nurse. She has turned her energy toward breaking down barriers and following the necessary steps that will lead her toward her professional goal. In explaining why she chose this field she said, “… I love people and I want to help.” In addition to developing strong learning strategies, Flamand has blossomed personally. Her commitment and determination have also had a positive influence on the youth in her community.