On February 14, Horizon's Writer-in-Residence, Sigmund Brouwer, visited Punnichy Community High School to launch his new book, Innocent Heroes -- a collection of stories about animals in the First World War. Over the course of the 2015-16 school year, the PCHS Grade 9 class and their teacher, Mr. Schermann (pictured above), worked closely with Sigmund as First Nations consultants during his writing process. Not only did this group provide valuable insights and feedback with respect to the First Nation character in the book, their suggestions also inspired content Sigmund would not have considered without their input. To thank them for their contributions, Innocent Heroes is dedicated to the class, their teacher and Horizon's Supervisor of Literacy & Early Learning Services, Katherine Oviatt; with special thanks to Director of Education, Kevin Garinger, for his work to establish the partnership Horizon enjoys with Sigmund.
In addition to their work on the book, this class at PCHS also worked with Sigmund to create a powerful video about the contributions of First Nations soldiers at the Battle of Vimy Ridge. That video can be found here.
Sigmund has also begun the process to create what will be the "Sigmund Brouwer Aboriginal Authors Finding their Voice Scholarship" at Red Deer College.
Beginning at 1:00 PM on the 14th, students from several area schools -- including Punnichy Elementary and George Gordon Education Centre -- gathered in the PCHS gym for a presentation by Mr. Brouwer. The presentation began with an honour song performed by PCHS student, Dustin Pelletier, and greetings from Director Garinger and Wil Lengyel, Vice Chair of the Horizon Board of Education.
Sigmund then shared an inspiring presentation with students about the power of stories and the importance of sharing your unique perspective. Following this, students enjoyed a talk with Hockey Hall of Famer and 7-time Stanley Cup winner, Bryan Trottier, about working hard and following your dreams.
Mr. Brouwer and Mr. Trottier then welcomed students to a book launch reception in the lunch area of the school (which was beautifully decorated by members of Horizon's central office staff), where they gave autographs, signed books and posed for pictures.
The whole event was a celebration of literacy and what can be achieved through dedication and collaboration.
Congratulations on the great new book, Sigmund and PCHS students!