Children inspire Island dad to be lifelong learner

Shawn Stewart has been recognized for moving his own literacy skills forward.

Supporting Island Families -

When Shawn Stewart’s children started school, he decided it was time to upgrade his own skills too.

For his efforts, Stewart received the 2017 Council of the Federation Literacy Award from Premier Wade MacLauchlan today at the Rotary Club of Charlottetown’s luncheon meeting. The award celebrates the contributions of Canadians to literacy and the exceptional commitments made by adult learners.

“School was always a challenge for me, and when I saw my kids having their own challenges in learning, I realized that I had to set a better example for them,” Stewart said. “Math was a struggle, but when I got the help I needed, I was able to earn my GED. “I wanted to show my kids what you can accomplish when you are willing to work hard enough and ask for help when you need it.”

Stewart received the literacy award after participating in the Workplace Essential Skills Program, which is funded under the Canada-PEI labour market agreement. He wrote and passed his General Educational Development (GED) math exam and became the fourth client in Workplace Learning PEI’s history to complete the Reading Horizons adult literacy program.

“Literacy and lifelong learning are linked to better health outcomes and greater social and civic engagement, and are also key elements in enabling economic growth,” the premier said. “Shawn is a great example of Prince Edward Island’s spirit of dreaming and doing and he personifies what makes our Island mighty. He set his goals, leveraged the help he needed, and is well on his way to making big things happen for his young family.”

Suzi DeBlois nominated Stewart for the award and was his instructor at Workplace Learning PEI, Inc.

“Shawn remains the only client in my career who showed up to class early the morning after completing his GED to begin work on his next goal,” DeBlois said. “He immediately began working on improving his reading and writing skills so that he could be better prepared for success in his upgrading classes and future post-secondary programming.”

What is Stewart’s advice to others? He says to “do the work, be open to feedback, stay humble, and never give up.”

For information on how to upgrade your own education, visit


Media contact:
Katie MacDonald

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