Canada’s Premiers Announce 2018 Literacy Award Recipients

Samia Eldik – Nova Scotia
Samia arrived in Canada as a refugee from Sudan in 2003. As a child, she was responsible for looking after her siblings while her parents worked and did not have the opportunity to attend school. She faced many challenges after arriving in Canada, including learning English and caring for five children after the death of her husband. In 2013, they became Canadian citizens. Samia promised herself “If I ever get the chance to learn things, I will do my best.” Samia did get the chance, thanks to the Halifax Community Learning Network. She attained her High School Diploma through the Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning in 2017 but she is not yet done. She is planning to attend the Nova Scotia Community College in fall 2018 to become a Continuing Care Assistant.

Elizabeth Tunnuq – Nunavut
Elizabeth Tunnuq has been an Inuktitut language specialist at Rachel Arngammaktiq Elementary School in Baker Lake for over a decade. Improving student literacy levels is her primary goal, and she sees results by working with Elders, teachers and learning coaches. She is a strong promoter of Inuktitut and encourages others to speak it as well. Elizabeth has organized the new Inuktitut guided reading resources in the school and shows the educators how to use them to help improve student literacy. Elizabeth supports student curriculum with a focus on Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (Inuit traditional knowledge). She also encourages literacy growth in children and youth outside of class time by teaching traditional Inuit cultural activities like throat singing and drum dancing. Elizabeth’s enthusiasm and commitment to literacy development is inspiring.

TR Leger School of Adult, Alternative and Continuing Education – Ontario
TR Leger School is the adult, alternative and continuing education arm of the Upper Canada District School Board, which spans eight rural counties in eastern Ontario. The school has delivered the Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) program for over 20 years. In response to the increasing need for digital skills in the modern workplace, the LBS program develops resources and provides relevant, practical training to help students continue their educational pursuits or find employment. TR Leger School serves approximately 450 adult literacy students annually, including a class in the St. Lawrence Valley Correctional Facility. A pilot project to develop partnerships with community hubs in smaller rural communities will be launched in September 2018, which will address the growing need for educational support where transportation is a barrier and Internet service may be poor or unavailable.

Alex Watts – Prince Edward Island
Alex Watts grew up in Prince Edward Island and left high school at a young age. After struggling with completing his GED, in 2017 he wrote and passed his Math GED, completing a journey that had begun years prior. Buoyed by his GED success and increased literacy skills, Alex remained committed to continuous learning by enrolling in and completing three upgrading classes. He emerged as a leader within the classroom and through his experiences, developed an interest in doing research and the judicial process. Alex applied to, and was recently accepted into, a Legal Administration program for the upcoming academic year. Alex epitomizes adult learning: he is engaged, resilient, curious and ready to tackle any learning challenges.

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