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A teacher at L.A. Matheson Secondary has been selected to receive a Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence.
Annie Ohana, who teaches aboriginal education, social studies and social justice to students in Grades 8 through 12, was awarded a Certificate of Achievement for not only being an original thinker, but an advocate for her students and a community champion. Her teaching was noted for bringing curriculum to life "in a way that is all encompassing, life changing, and empowering for her students, her colleagues, the school and the community."
She is one of just six B.C. teachers to be recognized and among 36 teachers chosen from across Canada for the 2016-17 national award.
"Annie is a respectful and inspiring mentor who has supported me ever since my first days in Canada when I migrated from Mexico. Without her I would definitely not be where I am today," says a former student.
Ohana regularly works with business and community groups to arrange social justice-based events that addresses indigenous, LGBTQ and mental health issues, to name a few. She created a mentorship program with her school's feeder elementary schools, co-developed an aboriginal math workshop that taught teachers across Surrey how to infuse aboriginal content, and developed internationally used curriculum around the Israel-Palestine conflict, anti-poverty and cultures of peace.
"Ohana's expert delivery of these new materials has found resonance with those interested in bringing diverse communities together in trusting relationships around common values and shared histories amongst educators, across schools, academia and the heritage sector," says Steven Purewal, managing director of Indus Media Foundation, who Ohana worked with on an interactive guide commemorating the contributions of Punjabi soldiers in the First World War.
The Certificate of Achievement carries a cash prize of $1,000 and certificate from the Prime Minister. L.A. Matheson will also receive a certificate recognizing its support of, and contribution to, Ohana's achievement.
A list of all the Teaching Excellence award-winners for 2016-17 can be found here.