June 1, 1998
Our story this week is a special event, because we are launching four learners stories on the Internet, and you can read their stories as well as hear them, with the proper audio program as shown below.
Play an audio version of this story
I went to public school in Brandon for fourteen years. I graduated from high school in 1988. It wasn’t until after I came back from working in New Zealand that I knew I had to do something about my poor skills in reading and writing. So, when I got home from there I began looking for a program that I could enroll in. However, I didn’t find a program right away. I was almost ready to give up and then I thought of hiring a tutor. While I was looking in the Brandon Sun for a tutor I noticed that there was an opening at the Samaritan House in a Literacy Program. This course has started me in a new direction. I am encouraged all the time by the staff of Samaritan House to continue in this program. I would like to talk more about my years in the public school and how the Samaritan House has helped me.
It was during my early years in elementary that my teachers noticed I was having a problem reading. They gave me extra help in my English classes. In grade VI the teachers thought it was in my best interest to repeat the grade. I think this was a good thing because I had a year to mature and get ready for junior high.
I was shocked at how hard grade VII was going to be. By October and the first report card, I got all “F’s” except for gym. At this point I was told I would never graduate, but my parents decided to look into things. They found out I was in an “A” class. The teacher of this class expected all his students to be “A” students! These were the only students he cared about. My parents’ complaints made them move me to a Special Ed class. Since they had no other place to put me, I wasted the rest of that year cooking and playing floor hockey.
The next two years things began to progress in a big way. I was placed in a Modified Grade VIII class, and here I felt I belonged because I could work at my own level and speed. These two years were well spent and prepared me for high school. I was finally getting confidence in myself and I was encouraged by two great teachers, Mr. Robleski and Mr. Zenk. These two teachers are the main reason I stayed in school.
Once I moved into grade IX I had Mr. Zenk as my main teacher. He cared about all of his students and I was helped a lot. It was in this grade that they had a work experience program. As a student I spent one day a week working at different businesses in Brandon. One of the work places I chose was Canada Safeway. It was because of this work experience that I got a part time job and was employed there about ten years.
My last three years of high school were pretty easy. The requirements were basic, and I felt I was just a number that they were pushing through. I majored in Power Mechanics, but haven’t used it since.
Since I have joined the Samaritan House Adult Literacy Program, I feel more confident after each class I attend because I know I am improving my reading skills. The classes on the computer have really opened a whole new world to me. It is because of the help I receive at Samaritan House that I plan on buying a computer of my own and continuing with computer work. I am grateful to Samaritan House staff for their encouragement in improving my skills so that I will be able to get a more fulfilling job in the future.