ETFO Honours Teachers, Parent Making a Difference Locally and Globally

TORONTO, Aug. 17 /CNW/ - It's said that it takes a village to raise a child and today the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) honoured five people for their achievements in pursuing social justice at home and globally.

Peel elementary teacher Betty Knight was honoured with ETFO's 2010 Humanitarian Award for her work in renovating and expanding a primary school in Sierra Leone. Working through CAUSE Canada, she took on the school located in a country that the United Nations has identified as one of the poorest nations in the world where illiteracy is the norm. A member of the Peel Elementary Occasional Teacher Local, Betty raised $30,500 to repair the school and add two classrooms and a kitchen. The school officially opened in February 2009 and serves approximately 370 children.

Amy McLaren was awarded ETFO's 2010 Innovative Projects on Behalf of Children Living in Poverty Award. A founding member of World Teacher Aid, Amy developed "Write to Give", a program involving over 600 Grand Erie District School Board students. It's a writing program for grades 1 to 4 in which students from different schools write short stories which are then published with illustrations created by students. These books not only generate funds for World Teacher Aid, they are used as reading material for students in developing countries.

Sudbury's Philip May was awarded ETFO's 2010 Arts and Culture Award for his work in organizing high profile music concerts in support of charitable causes. An elementary teacher and professional drum set player, Philip has pulled together concerts featuring Juno award-winning saxophonist Richard Underhill, Paul Quarrington and renowned Francophone artist, Robert Paquette, to raise funds for the World Literacy Fund and for earthquake relief in Haiti.

Superior Greenstone teacher Angie Bolt was awarded ETFO's 2010 Multi-Media Award for her collaborative work with students to produce a popular anti-bullying video called "Don't Bully Me." Begun as a classroom discussion among grade 4/5/6 students, it features students talking about the reasons behind bullying, the effects of bullying on themselves and the hurt that comes with it. The students have received an Award of Excellence from their school board and a letter of recognition from the House of Commons commending them on their commitment to end bullying in schools.

When Arnprior parent Sue Diotte lost her 16-year old daughter Sarah in a tragic car accident in 2001, she set up a scholarship fund in Sarah's memory at Arnprior District Secondary School. The recipient of an ETFO Humanitarian Award, Sue participates in all pre-prom assemblies to raise awareness about drinking and driving. Sue also runs a Leisure Lounge where students with autism spectrum can relax, socialize and play a variety of games. Sue is also very involved with the school's Gay Straight Alliance that supports the inclusion and awareness of sexuality in the school environment.

"Elementary teachers work in an environment where caring and commitment to the growth of children is paramount," said ETFO President Sam Hammond. "These award winners have taken that dedication even farther to make an outstanding contribution both locally and globally. We are very proud to recognize their achievements."

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 76,000 elementary public school teachers and education workers across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.

SOURCE Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

For further information: For further information:

Valerie Dugale, (416) 948-0195 (cell); vdugale@etfo.org
Johanna Brand, (416) 948-2554 (cell); jbrand@etfo.org
Mary Morison, (416) 948-3406 (cell); mmorison@etfo.org
August 16-19 ETFO Media Centre, Sheraton Hall B, Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel
Phone: (416) 945-6296; Fax: (416) 945-6298

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Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

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