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Maggie MacDonnell—Congratulations on Being Named Global Teacher Prize Winner

Maggie MacDonnell—Congratulations on Being Named Global Teacher Prize Winner

Maggie MacDonnell—Congratulations on Being Named Global Teacher Prize Winner

Maggie MacDonnell—Congratulations on Being Named Global Teacher Prize Winner

Published on 12 April 2017
Hansard and Statements by Senator Jane Cordy

Hon. Jane Cordy:

Honourable senators, as a former teacher and as a Nova Scotian, I am delighted to rise today to recognize Maggie MacDonnell, a truly remarkable and inspiring Canadian teacher and community mentor. Maggie MacDonnell of Afton, Nova Scotia, and a graduate of St. Francis Xavier University was the 2017 recipient of the Global Teacher Prize.

Honourable senators, this award means she is not just the best teacher from Nova Scotia and not just the best teacher in Canada — Maggie MacDonnell has been recognized as the best teacher in the world.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Cordy: The Global Teacher Prize is a US$1-million award presented annually by the Varkey Foundation to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession. The prize serves to underline the importance of educators around the world and the positive impact they can have on their communities. The award seeks to acknowledge the very best teachers as role models — both to their students and to the communities where they teach.

Maggie MacDonnell has accomplished many incredible things teaching in the remote and isolated village of Salluit, Quebec. Salluit is the second most northern Inuit community in Quebec and is only reachable by air.

As is the case of far too many of our northern communities, Salluit has faced many social challenges, and as a result, the community has a high turnover rate of teachers. However, Ms. MacDonnell has been inspired by the people of Salluit and has been teaching in the community for nearly seven years.

During her time in Salluit, Maggie created job mentorship programs and funds to assist with healthy meals. As a fitness instructor and teacher, she has combined her passions to help address issues in her community. She uses fitness as a way to steer youth away from some of the troubles that can plague a small, isolated village. She established a fitness centre for youth and adults in the community. She also made it possible for youth in the community to participate in the Blue Nose Marathon in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She negotiated cheaper airfare and arranged for discounts on new running shoes for those participating in the marathon.

Maggie MacDonnell was awarded the Global Teacher Prize in a ceremony in Dubai last month and was accompanied by three of her students. She was selected out of nearly 20,000 applicants from around the globe. Her plan for the $1 million in prize money is to start an NGO for her students and the community. It will focus on bringing back the culture of kayaking to the community through an environmental stewardship program for northern youth.

Honourable senators, I cannot think of a more deserving and inspiring choice for this prize than Maggie MacDonnell. I encourage my colleagues in this chamber to watch the inspiring video that I tweeted today and to see the incredible impact that Maggie has had on the residents of her community of Salluit.

I offer my congratulations to Maggie and her family. She is truly an inspiration to us all.