July 26, 2010
This week, we have a story written by Dennis Luther, from St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador. Dennis is doing Adult Basic Education classes with Stella Burry Community Services in St. John's. In the spring of 2007, Dennis received the Newfoundland & Labrador Learner Achievement Award during the Peter Gzowski Invitational Golf Tournament. Here are excerpts from the speech he gave as he accepted his award.
Before attending ABE with Stella Burry, I had a problem reading. This kept me from pursuing my goals - I had wanted to attend a cooking school, but didn't have the confidence. I worried about my ability to read and write.
I stopped going to school in Grade Three. I had a very hard childhood. I couldn't cope with going to school. That has been hard to forget and it held me back from getting my education. My career counselor has been a big supporter; Paula Greeley is tough but would go to the ends of the earth for you. She knew my goal was to cook and she convinced me to go back to school to improve my reading and writing.
My health has also held me back. Five years ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I have been clear now for four years. I also have diabetes and have had many problems with infections. It has been a tough road, but I am tougher and pretty stubborn. I won't let it keep me from my goals.
I joined the HOPEworks ABE program in September of 2005. Since then I have discovered a love of reading and writing. I am usually the first to volunteer to read out loud or answer questions. I no longer worry about my abilities. My classmates are wonderful. We have fun but also support each other in our learning. They gave me the nickname "The Godfather".
A new cooking program has started at Stella Burry and I hope to begin it next year. I love cooking and have worked in restaurants around the city. I hope to be able to cook in one of them some day.
[This story was taken with permission, from Stella Burry Community Services website, under Real Lives.]