Ministerial Literacy Awards

Minister Jackson Lafferty presented the Ministerial Literacy Awards to an outstanding educator and literacy organization during NWT Literacy Week. The Council of Federation Literacy Award was supposed to be presented at the same ceremony, but the winner Mardy Voudrach from Tuktoyaktuk was unable to attend due to the weather conditions in her community. We would like to congratulate the recipients of these awards.

Literacy Organization: Hay River Literacy Society

The Hay River Literacy Society is an organization that supports literacy in the town of Hay River. It is run entirely by volunteers. The society has been running for three years now. The society is dedicated to developing innovative programs that meet the needs of people in the community of Hay River. The NWT Literacy Council would like to congratulate the Hay River Literacy Society for their strong leadership role in promoting literacy in their community.

Educator: Hilary Gemmell - Fort Smith

Hilary is a long time teacher and northerner. She has worked very hard for adult literacy in the NWT, and even in retirement continues to volunteer, teaching learners with disabilities. The NWT Literacy Council congratulates Hilary for being a strong voice for adult literacy.

NWT Council of Federation Literacy Award - Mardy Voudrach

photo of Minister Lafferty with Marilyn Barnes and Hilary Gemmell
Minister Lafferty with Marilyn Barnes from the Hay River Literacy Society and Hilary Gemmell from Fort Smith

As an infant Mardy was stricken with meningitis. The disease impeded Mardy's ability to learn. Despite her tragic start in life, Mardy has demonstrated an exemplary level of courage and determination in advancing her literacy skills. Prior to enrolling in a one-on-one tutoring program in Tuktoyaktuk, she could not read or write, and spoke very little. In the past year, she has worked very hard on her literacy studies. Mardy can now speak clearly, do basic math, read and write texts, use a computer, and operate a digital camera. Since improving her literacy skills, Mardy has started her first job. Her employer describes her as a "great asset to our workplace," and says she has a very positive work ethic. The NWT Literacy Council congratulates Mardy Voudrach for her determination and dedication to learning.