Grand Erie’s John Macdonald, teacher at Pauline Johnson Collegiate and Vocational School, was honoured on Thursday, October 25, with an award presented by the Dreamcatcher Charitable Foundation during its annual gala celebration in Hamilton. The foundation is dedicated to celebrating the achievements of Indigenous peoples across the country, and supporting youth programming to continue to develop leadership. Macdonald, who is Mohawk, and a former Hamilton Tiger-Cat defensive lineman, was recognized for his contributions to education. At Pauline Johnson, he combines his experience and skillsets to bring expertise to the school’s SOAR program (Strength Opportunity, Achievement and Results), which supports the needs of student athletes.
“A great coach of mine, Andy Cox, once said that money and fame don’t mean anything; what matters is the quality of the relationships you forge with people,” said Macdonald in his acceptance speech. “This is a profound message and, of course, one that has echoed for generations from our traditional stories, ancestors, and elders. I encourage Indigenous role models to get out there and work with our youth because our lessons, presence, and spirit are needed by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students alike.”
Macdonald’s commitment to reaching students facing adversity is parallel to Grand Erie’s Multi-Year Plan, which promotes practices that help students feel safe, welcomed, and included through its Equity indicator, as well as setting high expectations and delivering effective learning strategies through its Achievement indicator.
“Grand Erie is so proud to count John among its team of dedicated and passionate educators working each day to ensure students succeed,” said Brenda Blancher, Director of Education for Grand Erie. “He brings a wealth of experience to the role and a commitment to equity that allows his students to prosper, and he couldn’t be more deserving of this honour.”