Council of the Federation Announces Literacy Award Winners for 2009

Francine Guindon – Québec
Francine Guindon was born into a family of 16 children in Hull, Québec. Having had three children at the age of 19, she dropped out of school and was forced to work unstable jobs. As her children started going to school, she found it more and more difficult to help them with their school work. As she says: “they tried to pass their knowledge on to me. It was the world upside down!” At the age of 36, she enrolled in Ottawa’s Basic Education Centre and learned again to read and write while regaining her self-confidence. Today, she is a member of the Board of Directors at the Centre where she represents the adult learners. “I try and motivate them and invite them to share their worries, their needs and their dreams.”

Margaret Lipp – Saskatchewan
Dr. Margaret Lipp is an accomplished Saskatchewan educator, administrator and literacy advocate, whose career in education and literacy has spanned nearly four decades. Acknowledged for her visionary leadership in curriculum innovation, Dr. Lipp has made a positive and enduring contribution to the advancement of school based literacy education in Saskatchewan. In 2005, Dr. Lipp was appointed Literacy Commissioner, and under her leadership, new initiatives to expand family, workplace and community literacy initiatives were introduced. Dr. Lipp has served on provincial and national organizations and contributed as a presenter and participant at provincial, national and international education conferences and Pan-Canadian literacy meetings and forums. Currently retired, Dr. Lipp maintains her involvement in literacy through her continuing role as a board member of the National Adult Literacy Database.

Emma Sam – Yukon
Emma Sam was born to David and Rosie Johnston of the Teslin Tlingit First Nation and is of the Ishkhitaan clan whose crest is the Frog. Her Tlingit name is Wakhsâni. Emma’s first language is Tlingit. “I was born with it,” she says. When she went away to school in Carcross, she made a promise to herself that she would not forget her own language as she learned to speak, read and write in English. Over the years, Emma has taken on the role of mentor to many students. One of her current students recently completed a master’s degree in education and Emma is proud to have assisted her with her thesis. As a grandmother, Emma continues to practise her cultural traditions and pass them on to her children and grandchildren. “I have fun teaching the language,” says Emma, adding that she continues today to “think in Tlingit”.

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