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Celebrating 10 Years of Recognizing Canada’s Exceptional Teachers

While students nationwide gear up to thank their teachers with end-of-year gifts, Loran Scholars show appreciation in their own way.

Ashley Harris never predicted that nearly a decade after she taught Lydia Hardy’s Grade 7 class in Recontre East, NL, they would be standing together once again in a public school auditorium in front of students and teachers to celebrate their relationship. Harris can still see traces of the young Hardy: they still have the same welcoming smile that lights up the room, and insatiable curiosity and inquisitiveness. But now, starting a 12-week research opportunity in Boston with a well-known researcher specializing in OCD prevalence, Hardy is an adult well on their way to achieving their career aspirations. Hardy credits Harris with helping them to get to this point:

“Ashley’s constant support and belief in my abilities helped me overcome self-doubt and embrace my true identity and passions. Her dedication to creating an inclusive environment where every student felt valued laid the groundwork for me to flourish academically and personally, shaping the course of my life in ways that continue to resonate years later.”

To show their appreciation for the impact Harris had on their life, Hardy recently nominated her for a Teachers Building Leaders Award. For the past 10 years, the Teachers Building Leaders Award, presented and administered by the Loran Scholars Foundation and supported by the McCall MacBain Foundation has recognized a widely diverse group of outstanding educators from across Canada with one common denominator: their dedication to their students. Each educator imparts wisdom that shapes how the young people they teach interpret the world around them, challenging them to question how they can make that world a better place, and inspiring them to see and reach their full potential.

“To say that the award has been the highlight of my career is an understatement. The TBL is an immense honor to receive as an educator, and I was awarded it for just doing what I love to do,” says Harris. “Lydia has frequently told me since the nomination that I inspired them, but I now believe that it is Lydia who has inspired me to be the best teacher I could possibly be for all my students.”

Harris and Hardy are only one example of the incredible teacher-student relationships being celebrated this year across the country with the Teachers Building Leaders Award: From Rencontre East, NL, to Lillooet, BC, 27 teachers will receive the award for 2024. Ceremonies started in April, and while most will happen before the school year wraps up, a few will continue over the summer.

Teachers Building Leaders Award nominations are offered by graduating Loran Scholars, who are invited to show gratitude to their teachers—whether primary school, secondary school, or Cegep—who provided early inspiration, guidance, and growth opportunities and who helped shape the trajectories of their lives.

Thanks to the longstanding support of the McCall MacBain Foundation, which deeply believes in the formative role teachers play in students’ leadership development, to date, 166 Loran Scholars, spanning ten cohorts, have recognized 248 teachers from 183 schools across Canada with the award. The nominating Loran Scholar celebrates each teacher recipient at a local certificate presentation. The teacher is also presented with a congratulatory letter from John McCall MacBain.

From coast to coast, the annual Teachers Building Leaders Award reminds us that an educator’s impact extends far beyond the classroom and is carried by students throughout their lives. The gratitude reflected by these awards is immeasurable, but it can be observed through how Loran Scholars speak about their teachers and their influence on their lives.

Local media outlets across the country featured TBL celebrations. Read their coverage: