22Jul 14

Congratulations to Lucinda Nielsen, our 2014 Lions’ Adult Learner Achievement Award Winner!

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“School was like nourishment. I’d eat and eat and eat and never get full.”

Lucinda Nielsen can’t help but talk with her hands when she describes what it was like to go back to school. Watching her describe her learning journey is like watching a bright-eyed child describe a rainbow or thunderstorm or some other marvel we all too often take for granted. Beautiful, exciting, and humbling.

The difference is, of course, Lucinda is 79.

Born and raised in smalltown Manitoba, Lucinda’s family struggled. With a sick mother and very little money, Lucinda was pulled out of school at a young age.

“I’ve cried myself to sleep many nights thinking about that pain,” Lucinda says. “I always wished I had finished school.”

Her entire adult life, she was left searching for a place to pick up where she left off.

It was in January of 2005 in Three Hills Alberta where she finally found what she was looking for. A small local organisation was offering one-on-one tutoring, and Lucinda leapt at the opportunity.

“I remember standing at the door and thinking … this is my chance… should I run or go in?”

Within two days, her tutor told her “Lucinda, you are going to write a book.”

From Three Hills, Lucinda moved to the Rosthern area where she continued her tutoring with READ Saskatoon tutor Pat Cooley. Pat, a retired teacher, works at the local library, where she and Lucinda began to meet once a week.

“For just one hour,” Pat jokes.

“We’d get caught up and end up spending two hours, and I’d be excited to have snuck in extra learning!” Lucinda laughs.

Through their hard work together, Lucinda was able to enroll in the Adult Basic Education program at North West Regional College.

This spring, Lucinda graduated, receiving her GED. During the ceremonies, students, teachers and friends cheered and wept.

“Everyone is just so proud of me,” says Lucinda.

And there is more to come.

Pat and Lucinda plan to continue meeting every week – for just an hour! – and Lucinda hopes to enroll in another program.

“Learning is something I can’t get enough of. I drink it all in. Nothing will stop me!”

It is this unquenchable thirst for learning which READ Saskatoon celebrates daily, and it is with our great pleasure that we are able to award Lucinda Nielsen with the 2014 Lions' Adult Learner Achievement Award, to be presented at the READ Saskatoon PGI Golf Tournament for Literacy on September 8th, 2014.

To learn more about the PGI tournament or to register for the awards banquet, please visit READ Saskatoon's PGI Golf Tournament for Literacy web page, call READ Saskatoon at 306-652-5448, or email us at [email protected].