(KENORA) May 5, 2017 – The Honourable Bob Nault, Member of Parliament for the Kenora riding, today issued the following statement regarding Red Lake teacher Thomas Doherty, who was awarded the Prime Minister’s Certificate of Excellence.
“I would like to wholeheartedly congratulate Thomas Doherty for being awarded the Prime Minister’s Certificate of Excellence. This is an extremely prestigious award that Tom has worked very hard to deserve. His unique approach of combining Ojibwe teachings and conventional math, science and English has created an environment where his students thrive in their learning.
“Living in Northwestern Ontario is a wonderfully different experience. Our communities have always been heavily influenced by Aboriginal culture and I am thrilled to see more teachers recognizing this and bringing it into the classroom.
“Again, my congratulations to Tom as well as St. John’s School, the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Board of Education, and the Kenora Catholic District School Board for creating such a special learning experience for their students.”
Thomas Doherty teaches at St. John’s School in Red Lake, ON. In September of 2016 he was awarded the Ontario Teachers Insurance Plan Teaching Award of Excellence in the Elementary Category. An Ojibwe teacher, Thomas has successfully adapted his teaching to meet the needs of his students in the modern world as well as in the traditional Ojibwe world. He has always involved his students in projects that have them ‘thinking outside the box.’ Thomas’ use of integrated technology with his students gave rise to their participation in the Ontario Teachers’ Federation ‘Book of Life’ project. Many student books were highlighted on local television and shared throughout the Board.
Thomas feels strongly that his students should learn and appreciate their Ojibwe heritage. To this end, his students experience such cultural activities as feasts and powwows. By inviting Elders to share their knowledge in his classes, his students come to appreciate their customs and traditions and continue to participate in the ‘Circle of Life.’ Hands-on field trips and nature hikes to learn about biodiversity and winter survival: all are examples of Thomas’ linking students to their heritage.
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