THUNDER BAY — A teacher at Dennis Franklin Cromarty High school in Thunder Bay is getting an award from Indspire, a national Indigenous registered charity that invests in the education of Indigenous people.
Indspire is also presenting an award to an Ojibwe teacher from Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation just east of Fort Frances.
Ken Liddicoat of DFC led a team that developed a school within a school with the formation of the First Nations Trade School.
It was declared officially open in early 2017 when additional programs were added.
To bring it to reality, Liddicoat and his collaborators forged partnerships to renovate old classrooms, wrote grant applications, fundraised, planned the renovations and sourced equipment.
Liddicoat is a certified automotive mechanic with additional qualifications in construction and manufacturing technologies in the classroom.
He said it's "awesome" for DFC to be recognized across the country.
Liddicoat said graduating students are able to carry on to college or an apprenticeship program that eventually allows them to work in a trade.
Grade 9 students now have the option of taking multiple trades courses at DFC, right through Grade 12, as a result of the addition of new programs.
Liddicoat said he'd like to see more courses added in the future, such as hairstyling & aesthetics, or computer design.
Initially, DFC only offered construction and automotive programs, but currently provides manufacturing and welding as well as hospitality, food and tourism management
The other northwestern Ontario award-winner, Jason Jones of Nigigoonsiminikaaning, has taught Ojibwe for the Rainy River District School Board since 2005, first as an elementary teacher and later as Ojibwe language curriculum coordinator.
He also works with Taking it Global as a school lead for Fort Frances High School where he helped create the Our First Family program along with Jennifer Corriero and Nyle Johnston.
The series touches on animals that Anishinaabe use, and how to learn from them, as well as some of their medicinal uses, all in Ojibwe.
Jones and his grandmother Nancy have helped to translate numerous books for an Indigenous language revitalization initiative, https://sayitfirst.ca/.