Graham Cannon is the first winner of the Barb de Groot grant, which has been presented for the first time this year. (Submitted)

Graham Cannon is the first winner of the Barb de Groot grant, which has been presented for the first time this year. (Submitted)

First winner of de Groot grant in Cowichan is former student

Cannon is the lead instructor for a class of four boys

The very first winner of the Barb de Groot grant is also a former student of hers, Graham Cannon.

Literacy Now Cowichan announced that Cannon, of Pivot Point Family Growth Centre, is the winner of the annual grant, which is being given out for the first time this year. It is designed to help promote Literacy in the Cowichan Valley.

Cannon is the lead instructor for a class of four boys (aged nine to 12 years old) all living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

“All of my boys are ones that tried the public school system and it just didn’t work out for them,” explains Cannon, “In my room, stuff works for these boys and we have a good time being here.”

A humble and dedicated educator, Cannon was pleasantly surprised to learn a coworker had nominated him for the award, a press release for the grant said.

“I have never considered myself to be the type of person who could win a grant,” he admits, “I just wake up every day and try to get as much good done in that day as I can.”

That “good” includes finding creative, alternative methods to help his students get excited about literacy and learning. He employs the use of things like Dungeons and Dragons, violence-free superhero comics, video games, and science experiments to build an individually crafted bridge to learning for each of his students.

“Not only does Graham exemplify the qualities we were looking for in the recipient of this award,” says Literacy Now Cowichan executive director Jessica Lewinski, “But once the decision was made, we were delighted to discover that Graham had actually been a student of Barb de Groot’s when she was the librarian at Quamichan Middle School. What a wonderfully ‘full circle’ way to honour all that Barb has done to promote education in our community!”

The grant of $500 will be used by Cannon to support literacy in his classroom. The Barb de Groot Grant for Promoting Literacy in the Cowichan Valley is sponsored by Literacy Now Cowichan, and will continue to be offered annually to literacy leaders in the Cowichan Valley. To learn more about literacy in the Cowichan Valley, visit www.literacynowcowichan.ca

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