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At 90, Everyday Hero Al Brown is still giving and getting as a volunteer

From EcoMons to janitors, the Upper Grand District School Board hands out its 2018 Everyday Hero awards

At 90 years of age, Guelph’s Al Brown doesn’t see his volunteer work with Grade 3 students as just giving back to his community. He also sees it as getting.

“I think I get more out of it than I give,” said Brown, a volunteer with the school board for eight years who spends two hours per week at both Rockwood Centennial Public School and Ottawa Crescent Public School.

“It’s good to interact with the kids. My own great-grandchildren don't live very close. I just enjoy it.”

Brown was one of 11 winners of the Upper Grand District School Board’s Everyday Hero awards presented Tuesday at John F. Ross High high school.

Brown doesn’t have a teaching background. He was formerly the head of physical resources at the University of Guelph.

But several relatives, including a son, are teachers and Brown is a longtime friend of the family of Rockwood teacher Deb McDougall.

“I edit the kids’ journals. They’re supposed to keep journals so I sit down with them individually and correct their spelling and grammar,” said Brown, who works with Grade 3 students.

Tuesday was the 11th annual Everyday Hero Awards for the UGDSB.

Director of Education Martha Rogers said there were 44 nominees this year, ranging from volunteers and crossing guards to students and board staff.

This year’s other recipients were:

Lisa Benham: the head custodian at Centre Dufferin District High School was recognized for making the school a better place every day with her work, positive attitude and sense of humour.

Brant Avenue Public School Running and Reading Volunteer Team: staff, community members and former students run a 32-week running and reading after school program for 60 students, helping them improve their reading, running and teaching them how to achieve goals.

Colinda Clyne: was recognized for her work as the curriculum lead for First Nations, Metis and Inuit education with the school board.

Geoff Elmslie: education assistant at Norwell District Secondary School goes above and beyond, including custom designing protective equipment that allowed a special need student to participate in welding class.

Noah Irvine: Guelph CVI high school student has been recognized nationally for his work to bring awareness and proactive strategies to the mental health issues.

Dottie Petersen: volunteer and education at Orangeville District Secondary School makes strong connections and inspires students running the school’s breakfast club.

Primrose EcoMoms: Nicole Hambleton, Kelly French, Megan Taylor and Jennifer Payne run an extensive ecology program at Primrose Elementary School in Shelburne that includes an eco club involving 80 students.

Salem Public School Kindergarten Team: Tessa Heffernan, Holly Diljee, Trudy Matusinec and the Kindergarten A class at the school taught life lessons to the class through fundraising efforts for a classmate’s wheelchair needs.

Julie Richer: teacher-librarian at Paisley Road Public School who runs a knitting club, the choir and is heavily involved in the school’s reconciliation activities.

Millar Weddig: Sir Isaac Brock Public School student has raised over $20,000 for multiple sclerosis research.


Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 20 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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