Une élève de Western Québec signe un essai primé

Jeudi dernier, une assemblée surprise a eu lieu à l’École primaire Lord Aylmer pour rendre hommage à une ancienne élève de l’école, Penelope Adkins, pour une réalisation spectaculaire. Sa mère avait dit à Penelope, qui étudie aujourd’hui à l’école secondaire Symmes Junior, qu’elles devaient s’arrêter à Lord Aylmer pour récupérer sa petite sœur en route pour un rendez-vous chez le dentiste. À son arrivée, le directeur de l’école a demandé à Penelope de l’accompagner au gymnase, car son ancienne enseignante voulait lui dire bonjour. Lorsque les portes du gymnase se sont ouvertes, Penelope a été accueillie par les acclamations et les applaudissements des élèves de Lord Aylmer, qui étaient au courant de la surprise.

De gauche à droite Corinna Chaudhary, enseignante;
Mike Dubeau, directeur général de la CSWQ; Amanda Russell, maman fière;
Penelope Adkins, autrice primée; Cathy Goldsborough, commissaire scolaire;
Justin Ford, président du conseil d’établissement de Lord Aylmer; Eldon Keon, directeur d’école.

En mai dernier, alors qu’elle était en sixième année, Penelope a été encouragée par son enseignante, Corinna Chaudhary, à participer au prestigieux concours de rédaction Royal Commonwealth Essay Writing Competition. Il s’agit du plus ancien concours international d’écriture pour les écoles, ayant débuté en 1883. En 2022, le concours a enregistré un nombre record de 26 300 inscriptions. Chaque année, les jeunes écrivent sur un thème qui découle des valeurs et des principes du Commonwealth, développant ainsi des compétences clés en matière d’alphabétisation tout en favorisant une vision du monde empathique et ouverte d’esprit.

Penelope a remporté un prix de bronze pour sa composition touchante et stimulante intitulée « Like Keller ». Mme Chaudhary, la fière enseignante d’anglais de Penelope en 6e année, a qualifié sa participation à ce concours de réussite spectaculaire.

Like Keller, de Penelope Adkins
Her cheeks were stained with tears. She hid in her blue comforter. I pulled my grandchild into my arms and caressed the top of her head.

Why are you crying my dearest? I signed.

I don’t understand anything! Her fingers trembled as she signed, her lips wobbled.

I sighed, tell me, dear, tell me what happened.

Her eyes watered again, the kids at the park today tried to invite me to play and didn’t see them. They thought I was so rude and tried to tell me so. I just tapped my ear to show that I was deaf, and they started shouting like it would help! They acted like I was dumb!

My sweet grandchild who I cherished, buried herself in her teddies and sobbed.

My heart sank.

This was not the first time my darling girl had felt like an outsider. I raged at the people who looked at my girl differently because she did not communicate with her voice, and longed for a day when my granddaughter would stop blaming herself for the ignorance of others.

You are not dumb, I signed once I had removed her from her teddies and kissed away her sorrow.

I am deaf. In their world, deaf equals dumb.

Tell that to Helen Keller, I smiled knowing she could never resist a story.

My granddaughter gave in, Who is Helen Keller?

I tucked her in and set her favorite doll next to her in bed and stroked her cheek, Helen Keller was born hearing and seeing. She was only a baby when a fever took her hearing and sight. At six years old she had a teacher who found a way to help Helen speak and listen with only her sense of touch. Her teacher’s name was Anne Sullivan.

My granddaughter’s eyes widened, She spoke? She was deaf and blind, and yet still she spoke?
I grinned at the look of pure wonder on her face, Not only did Helen graduate college with a Bachelor of Arts degree, but she also spoke out on matters such as the rights of the disabled and on women’s rights. Next year you are going to a special school for blind and deaf kids, there they will teach you about her and other blind and deaf heroes. I gave her my pinky-finger to seal the promise.

My girl sighed happily at the idea of kids like her. Suddenly, a frown clouded her face.

I wish… I wish Helen Keller could come and teach me. My granddaughter looked longingly out her window. She rubbed her vocal cords as if trying to get them to speak.

I wrapped her in my arms, Helen Keller already taught the world to be a little kinder, she is an image of courage and resilience, and you my dear will be greater than anything Ms. Keller could have possibly imagined. Of that I’m certain!

I laid my girl back in the folds of her blanket, I kissed her forehead, and just before turned off the lights my granddaughter grabbed my arm, her young eyes were serious when she signed,

I am going to be like Helen Keller.

Au cours de l’assemblée, Penelope a encouragé ses anciens camarades de Lord Aylmer à participer au concours cette année et à explorer la création littéraire. Elle a ensuite régalé le public en lisant son histoire. Sa famille de Lord Aylmer est ravie pour elle et lui souhaite de continuer à réussir dans toutes ses entreprises !

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