Dr. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell Literacy Awards 25th Anniversary

The Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick held their annual Dr. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell Literacy Awards at Old Government House in Fredericton on October 3rd, 2023. This year’s ceremony marked the 25th anniversary of the awards.

“These awards were established in 1998 by Dr. Trenholme Counsell during her term as New Brunswick’s Lieutenant Governor to recognize outstanding achievements in the fields of literacy and essential skills” said Lynda Homer, Executive Director of the Coalition and Master of ceremonies for the event. The Literacy Coalition is proud to have carried on the tradition of presenting these awards annually since 2007.”

During the evening, the Honourable Brenda Murphy, Lieutenant Governor, gave opening remarks in both official languages. She spoke of Dr. Trenholme Counsell’s forward thinking in championing literacy for twenty-five years. She also commended the Literacy Coalition for its valuable work and congratulated the award winners. thanking them for giving back to their communities.

Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development, Bill Hogan, brought greetings from the province. He highlighted some of the government’s promising initiatives for literacy and praised the Literacy Coalition for their valuable work.

Seven award winners were presented with a framed certificate, and an engraved pewter bowl presented by Literacy Coalition President Brent Melanson, and the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, Honourable Brenda Murphy.

Dr. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell gave closing remarks. She thanked the Lieutenant Governor for her huge contribution to the province and the Literacy Coalition for their work in literacy, and for continuing to present these awards for the past 18 years. She spoke of each award recipient and how their work made them so worthy of their award. In conclusion, she recited a beautiful poem by Sheree Fitch.

Brent Melanson said that “The Dr. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell Awards is one of our favourite events that we are proud to host each year. It’s a celebration of literacy and accomplishments of remarkable individuals and organizations”.

LCNB Recognizes Outstanding Achievements in the Field of Literacy

The Fredericton Public Library received the award for Community Literacy Program. Under the leadership of Julia Stewart, the Fredericton Public Library has implemented initiatives to meet the needs of the most vulnerable, including the community fridge program, which supplies snacks, milk, and water to patrons for free. Julia spoke about the importance of food security, especially for children, and how the necessity of programs like this should raise the alarm about the state of our most vulnerable population in the province.

Patsy McKinney received the award for Outstanding Effort in Indigenous Literacy. As Executive Director of Under One Sky HeadStart, Patsy has been an outstanding leader in supporting the early childhood development of Indigenous children, helping to give them and their families a positive sense of themselves as they gain Indigenous knowledge, language and culture in their communities. While accepting her award, Patsy spoke about the importance of remembering, learning, and teaching our Indigenous languages which are our connection to the land, our ancestors, and our traditions. She also played an audio clip of her language hero’s 3 year old son, singing happy birthday in Wolastoquey.

Janet North of Westminster Books received the award for Business Corporate Literacy Initiative. Westminster Books has been a bedrock of the Fredericton reading community for over 44 years, and Janet has been at the center of that operation, hosting events for local and visiting authors and putting books into the hands of readers of all ages and experiences. Upon retiring, she has ensured that the local independent bookstore experience will continue in Fredericton and beyond.

Marshall Button received the award for his Outstanding Individual Contribution to Literacy. Beloved comedian, actor, playwriter, director and founder of Moncton’s Hub Cap Comedy Festival, has generously contributed to countless community events, organizations, and causes, including as MC and Poet Laureate for the NB PGI (Peter Gzowski Invitational) Literacy Dinners for 20 consecutive years. Marshall gave his thanks in both official languages, attributing his success to support from those who instilled a love of theatre in him. In typical Marshall fashion, he made everyone laugh during his acceptance speech, and said what an honor it was to be in the room with his fellow award winners.

Lily Van Beek was the second winner for Outstanding Individual Contribution to Literacy. Lily founded Student Stories NB, while attending Saint John High School. The online news outlet became a platform where students could publish their news stories and works of fiction, including important pieces about climate change, the impact of social media on youth, and schools. In its first four months, the platform saw nearly 6,000 views.

Dave Lawrence, winner of the award for Published Author. is the author of Noah Bear: A Day in the Life of a Young Bear with Autism and The Ongoing Adventures of Noah Bear. He is also a radio host on The Wake Up Show with Dave on Rewind 93.1. Dave spoke about how important this work has been for families and children like his son, and never expected his book to become an Amazon Best Seller.

Peter Clark, the second winner in the category of Published Author, is a writer, chronicler, and self-publisher of NB folklore and stories. Five of his nine books have achieved Canadian Bestseller status, and he has helped raise countless lifelong readers by donating his books to schools, libraries, and charities. Peter had many people to thank over the course of his illustrious career and spoke of the realities of making a living as an author.

Thank you to everyone who attended this milestone event!