2010 Lieutenant-Governor’s Dialogue Award Recipients
September 9, 2010
(FREDERICTON) – The winners of the 2010 Lieutenant-Governor’s Dialogue Award were announced today at a ceremony in Fredericton. The recipients of the annual honour were: Susan Belliveau, Jane Keith and Deborah H. Thomas.
Speaking to guests at Old Government House, the Honourable Graydon Nicholas, Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick, said: “These three individuals worked tirelessly to promote both of our official languages – not in a heavy-handed way, but with tolerance and compassion to further the understanding of cultures and traditions we share.”
Established in 2003, the Lieutenant-Governor’s Dialogue Award is given out annually by Dialogue New Brunswick (DNB) – a provincial, non-profit organization that promotes understanding, respect and appreciation between English-speaking and French-speaking citizens of the province.
According to DNB’s executive director, Carole Fournier, recipients are selected by a jury. “There are many deserving people in this province – many who devote their time and energy to the cause of linguistic and cultural harmony and understanding. This year’s recipients follow in the tradition and lead in their commitment to these principles.”
In addition to the Lieutenant-Governor’s Dialogue Award, Dialogue New Brunswick organizes and operates the following annual initiatives: The My Friend-Mon ami(e) Pen-pal Program for school-age children, and Friends Meeting Friends! which provides opportunities for New Brunswick’s English-speaking and French-speaking children to directly experience each other’s cultural and linguistic richness and distinctiveness.
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2010 LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR’S DIALOGUE AWARD RECIPIENTS
Front: The Honourable Graydon Nicholas, Lieutenant-Governor Province of New Brunswick and Mrs. Kelly Cain, Co-Chair of Dialogue New Brunswick Back: Mrs. Jane Keith, Ms. Susan Belliveau and Mrs. Deborah H. Thomas
Mrs. Jane Keith
For Jane Keith, who served for 15 years as the Executive Director of the New Brunswick branch of Canadian Parents for French, second language education is more than a mere interest: it’s her passion. Over the years, she has given many hours of her time (as well as providing financial contributions) to see her dreams come true.
During her tenure, Jane worked tirelessly to promote and help establish quality French Second Language programs (Core French and French Immersion) for students in New Brunswick. Her message was loud and clear: “Every child who can learn a first language can learn other languages given the opportunity and that best opportunity is Early Immersion.”
During her travels across New Brunswick, she spoke with provincial ministers of education, ensured parents understood the crucial benefit of second-language instruction for their children, and fund-raised assiduously to raise money to buy French books for schools around the province.
New Brunswick is recognized nationally as a leader in second language education and this is due, in no small measure, to the dedication of Jane Keith and to those who she has inspired by her example.
Mrs. Susan Belliveau
In the now largely English-speaking community of Minto, Susan Belliveau is a proud and successful proponent of her home town’s historical linguistic diversity. Once, this central New Brunswick community was home to a rich Acadian heritage. Time and circumstance has winnowed this down. That’s why Susan has limbered up.
As the French Immersion teacher at Minto Memorial High School, she has single-handedly, and successfully, promoted the French language and culture among students, faculty, staff, and in the community at large. Her students speak to her in French, regardless of when or where they are: in the mall, at a hockey game, or in class. This is a testament to her vigour and commitment to linguistic parity in New Brunswick.
Susan encourages her students to attend Dialogue conferences, French summer programs and to submit poetry and essay contests in French. She has organized a heritage fair, completely in French. At Minto High School’s graduation ceremony, she hands out French Oral Proficiency certificates to deserving recipients.
Susan seizes the day – any opportunity to include French in her school and community. She leads by showing that a linguistically sophisticated New Brunswick is an economically promising place to call home.
Mrs. Deborah H. Thomas
As a Learning Specialist in School District 8 (Saint John), Debbie Thomas has been a driving force behind French Second Language education for many years. She is a member of an Atlantic working group that develops resources to guide students in second-language learning. The first mandate of the group was to craft a framework document to assist curriculum specialists and teachers in the use of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Debbie’s experience and knowledge of the development and implementation of the Intensive French program in New Brunswick has helped guide this process.
Debbie also organizes the annual Concours d’art oratoire, (public speaking for French Immersion students at middle and high school levels), and the Paquet Culturel program, in which Immersion students participate in cultural activities in conjunction with School District 8 and ARCf de Saint-Jean.
As well, she coordinates French Second Language classes for FSL teachers and collaborates with Canadian Parents for French as a consultant with extensive knowledge of French second language pedagogy.