…that people who care about kids, teens, and stories are MY KIND OF PEOPLE!
For example, at Le Goff School – just south of Cold Lake, Alberta – principal Mary Anne Bushore knows each of the students and their families’ personally. She welcomed Gail de Vos and me warmly and beamed while telling us about the school and about the various cultural events the students would soon enjoy with Dene elders from the community.
As for Mary Anne’s words about “Come back and visit us any time you’re in the area….” well, that just could happen!
At Nelson Heights School in Cold Lake, librarian Shaula Corr arranged for me to speak with two large groups of students in the morning, and to offer a small-group writing workshop in the afternoon to students who could most use a writing “boost.” In so doing, I felt my teaching background and writing expertise were put to optimal use for the students’ sake. Shaula definitely called it, and memories of that wonderful day continue to warm my heart.
Knowledgeable, dedicated to literacy, and a whole ton o’ fun, Gail de Vos was an ideal tour partner. The same goes for author Hazel Hutchins and illustrator Georgia Graham who were also touring in the Bonnyville-Cold Lake area. The four of us thoroughly enjoyed sharing stories and learning from each other throughout the week.
Cenovus Energy sponsored the Wordpower tour – every nickel of it, including my travel costs, hotels, speaking fees, and my food. And as I told the students, I might be small but I can eat a LOT!
Shelby, a representative from Cenovus, joined me for presentations at H.E Bourgoin School and at Le Goff School. Shelby’s enthusiasm and passion for northern Alberta communities were ever apparent.
The Young Alberta Book Society (YABS) is a literacy-based organization that brings together Alberta students, and working authors, illustrators and storytellers. Hugs and hearts to Stephanie Gregorwich and Jennifer Plamondon of YABS for their commitment to literacy and to Alberta artists.
I’m grateful for the many teachers and librarians I worked with throughout Wordpower and have truly never met such a caring group of professionals. And a special nod to the Nelson Heights teacher who said these generous words: “In my entire career, I couldn’t have offered the students what those authors did in eighty minutes.”
No doubt about it, people who care about kids and teens are my kind of people, and they were EVERYWHERE on the Wordpower tour. It was a pleasure crossing paths with them, exchanging stories, and sharing our passion for making the lives of young people better through literacy. #RealLifeHeroes
And to the students themselves, I so value your incredible personalities and the time we shared together. I hope you’ll keep writing, and I know you’ll keep being your beautiful, amazing selves.
Please remember the promise I made to all of you: “If you work at becoming better writers, your lives will be better and easier in ways you haven’t yet imagined.”
For sharing your time and hospitality, my thanks to the wonderful staff and students of:
In Bonnyville: École Dr. Bernard Brosseau School; Bonnyville Centralized High School; Bonnyville Library; and H.E. Bourgoin School.
In Le Goff and Cold Lake: Nelson Heights School; Le Goff School; Cold Lake High School; Le Goff School; Cold Lake Middle School.