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Adult learners from across Annapolis Valley to be celebrated at recognition event in Greenwich

Valley Community Learning Association executive director Peter Gillis with some of the many high school equivalency certificates earned by adult learners.
Valley Community Learning Association executive director Peter Gillis with some of the many high school equivalency certificates earned by adult learners. - Kirk Starratt

KENTVILLE, NS - She has never been recognized for an accomplishment before but that is about to change.

46-year-old Charlotte Isnor of Steam Mill is among the 30 adult learners nominated to be recognized at a special celebration event at the Old Orchard Inn in Greenwich on Nov. 19. There are 10 being nominated by the Valley Community Learning Association, 10 by the Digby Area Learning Association and 10 by the Hants Learning Network Association.

Some, such as Isnor, are being recognized for working toward their GED high school equivalency. Others have worked toward getting a drivers’ licence, finding employment or learning English as newcomers to Canada.

Although she admits to being nervous about the experience at first, Isnor said it feels great to have what you’re doing noticed and recognized. Earning her GED is a “bucket list” item for her.

“I’ve never been recognized for anything that I’ve done before,” Isnor said. “I’m mostly excited.”

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She said she wanted to earn her GED because she didn’t enjoy high school as a teenager and left in Grade 9. Now that she is older, she realizes that she shouldn’t have left school because having a high school education is very important when it comes to finding employment. Although she is taking things one step at a time, Isnor hopes to soon begin working toward her drivers’ licence.

Isnor said she loves it at the VCLA’s learning centre because she is treated with respect and nobody judges her. The people there have always made her feel welcome. Isnor likes that the instructors speak to you, not at you or around you, and it’s a very friendly environment.

“I finally found somewhere where I feel like I belong,” she said. “It’s all on a first-name basis and I love that.”

The event will include workshops for adult learners and staff from the three organizations, a dinner, accommodation and the adult learners will be presented with certificates of recognition. Some awards will also be presented. Valley Community Learning Association executive director Peter Gillis said they are partnering with Literacy Nova Scotia to put on the recognition event, the first of its kind for the Annapolis Valley region. Gillis said 100 Men Who Give a Damn Annapolis Valley contributed funding, as did other groups. There have been two similar province-wide events held in the past, in 2010 and 2012.

Gillis said that when you attend high school as a young person, you get to eventually walk across a stage and receive your diploma. You invite your family and friends and your accomplishment is recognized. Adult learners such as Isnor receive certificates at the end of their studies but often don’t get a celebratory event.

“We’re really trying to celebrate the hard work that adults put into their education and Charlotte’s a great example,” Gillis said.

He said one thing that stands out about Isnor is her level of commitment, walking 45 minutes each way from her home in Steam Mill to the Valley Community Learning Centre in Kentville and back for her studies. Gillis said she has had excellent attendance.

Isnor said that when Gillis told her that she has been nominated for the recognition event, she was overwhelmed. She was about to walk home and, on her way, she “almost had a happy cry.”

Kirk.starratt@kingscountynews.ca

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