February 14, 2017 – For Immediate Release
Humboldt, SK – Acclaimed Canadian author and Horizon School Division Writer-in-Residence, Sigmund Brouwer, celebrated the release of his latest work, Innocent Heroes, with a book launch at Punnichy Community High School (PCHS) on February 14. Over the course of the 2015-16 school year, Sigmund worked closely with Grade 9 students at PCHS, and these students served as First Nations consultants to inform and enrich characters and events in the story.
Through a collaborative effort that began with Horizon's strong focus on literacy and included the involvement of Mr. Brouwer, PCHS Grade 9 students have seen significant improvements in literacy. By the end of the 2015-16 school year, this Grade 9 class saw a 30% increase in student literacy rates, with an average growth of 5 reading levels between fall and spring.
"It was a great experience and he made us feel that our words had value," said Angel Morin, student at PCHS. "He used the suggestions we made in class and it was cool to see our ideas come together in his book."
"Horizon's partnership with Sigmund has been very beneficial as one of the many ways we focus on literacy for our students," said Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education for Horizon School Division. "His work at PCHS has been extremely positive for these students and we are very proud of their contributions to Sigmund's stories. I would like to thank Sigmund, our students, Superintendent of Student Services, Darrell Paproski, Supervisor of Literacy & Early Learning Services, Katherine Oviatt, Principal Donna Nurse and Grade 9 teacher, Mr. Kelly Schermann, for all of their work on this exciting project."
Innocent Heroes is a unique celebration of the important roles animals play in war. Through a blend of fiction and non-fiction, the book provides a close-up look at life in the trenches, the bonds between soldiers and their animals, the First Nations contributions to the military and the significance of the battle of Vimy Ridge.
"It was an honour to dedicate Innocent Heroes to the students at Punnichy High who helped me through the manuscript process, as they discussed what life would have been like for one of my main characters, a First Nations soldier in World War One," said Mr. Brouwer.
Sigmund Brouwer is the best-selling author of nearly thirty novels. He has served as Writer-in-Residence for Horizon School Division since 2015, partnering with schools and educators to help engage students in a love of reading and writing. As a result of his work with PCHS students, Mr. Brouwer has begun the process to establish the "Sigmund Brouwer Aboriginal Authors Finding Their Voice Scholarship" through Red Deer College, where he has his Canadian Residence.
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