December 29, 2008
This week, we have a story written by Richard Miller, from Clarenville, Newfoundland and Labrador. Richard has been on the learners’ advisory committee of the Movement for Canadian Literacy. He will soon be working in the shipping industry offshore from Newfoundland.
The moment has come; the whole province of Newfoundland and Labrador will hear my story tonight on CBC news. The feeling is a good one. I am a little nervous, however, I remember what my ABE classmates said to me before I left to go to St. John's "think of the ABE class and you will be okay". At last the time has come, I walk towards the stage. I take the first step towards the podium. I take a look down at the audience. I see my wife and my instructor. Then I begin to speak to so many people. There are so many different faces here today. I look to my left and see my wife, Annie; she has tears in her eyes. I then glance to my right and I see my instructor, Nick Donovan. I can see it in his eyes, he is very proud of me today.
My story has touched these people in so many ways. I can't believe I have come from an illiterate person who couldn't even read his own name to being able to get up in front of so many people today at this ceremony. I sure want to say thank you to Laubach Literacy Council of Canada, for they have done so much for me. There have been so many people in my life who have helped me, especially my first tutor Mrs. Myrtle Elliott, my daughter Natasha, and my son Adam who always stayed with me though so many difficult times. I have lived in a very dark world for most of my life. I went through a hard battle with illiteracy. I was one of the lucky ones who had a wife who stayed with our children, supported me and encouraged me while I was off attending school.
By getting an education and being able to read and write and going to college with plans to study Fish and Wildlife is the most wonderful gift anyone could receive. If I never go any further than where I am today, I would be disappointed and would be more than satisfied with this beautiful gift of literacy.
[This story was taken with permission, from A Book of Changes, which was intended for display at Literacy Action Day, on Parliament Hill. Learners' Advisory Network (LAN) members felt that true stories from learners would make literacy 'come alive' for the politicians who read them.]