Honouring Spirit: Indigenous Student Award

Norwood School's Grade 5 student, Teagan Saddleback, was recently awarded one of 12 ASBA Honoring Spirit awards in Alberta. The full news release can be found here.

Teagan was nominated by the school's Indigenous Support Worker (Mrs. Gloria Rogers). His then grade 4 teacher, Mrs. Marcie Hofbauer, endorsed the nomination with the following:

Teagan is that student who always wants to do his best, please others, and get recognition for his hard work. He is very proud of himself and his accomplishments. Strength and commitment are two words that easily describe Teagan. In the description it mentioned the student needed to ‘embrace their own gifts’ and that this award is an opportunity to ‘celebrate the unique qualities of students who inspire...’. Teagan was not only born pre-maturely, but also with Cerebral Palsy. Has this hindered him or slowed him down?? Not in the least. I have never met a more determined student than Teagan. He inspires me everyday! 

Perseverance is another descriptor of Teagan. He is not one to give up easily. He is not one to quit because his abilities are slowing him down. I have never heard Teagan say to me, “I can’t do that.” I have however seen Teagan wait patiently for others to help him. I have seen Teagan work as best as he can until others are available to help. I have heard Teagan kindly remind his peers or myself, that he will need to do this ‘differently’. Despite the fact that his right hand is getting progressively more impacted by the Cerebral Palsy, he has learned to cut with essentially one hand, do up his coat on his own, and even dribble and shoot a basketball. He is artistic beyond belief and participates in everything he can. Never have I heard Teagan say, “I can’t.” That, in my mind, is the ultimate exemplar of perseverance.

Despite the obstacles that Teagan faces, he maintains strength, self-care and a healthy attitude. He is determined to do well and takes on that responsibility each and every day. He has shown growth in the classroom by becoming more enthusiastic and engaged in the lessons. He works hard to complete all his assignments and is not afraid to have to try again if he has not been successful the first time. While learning at home, he was struggling with some online multiplication and he worked so long that it brought him to tears. He was so determined to understand it and get it done. Despite that struggle, he came back the next day with that same smiling energy and carried on. He keeps a positive attitude and interacts positively with everyone he works with, whether that be peers, teachers or other adults. The teacher down the hall even said to me the other day, “He sure is a happy kid.” I smiled with pride to call him ‘mine’.

Teagan is an honest and kind person. He makes mistakes like any other kid, but is quick to be honest and take responsibility. He has a huge heart and wears it on his sleeve. On December 18, he came to me and said, ‘Today is such a sad day.’ I was worried that something terrible had happened, so treaded lightly with my questions. We were just heading into the winter break and he simply meant, almost in tears explaining to me, it was so sad because he was going to miss me. That is just a small example of the kind and caring heart that Teagan has!

Teagan was recognized on stage and the video was shared at the November 2021 ASBA Fall General Meeting was representatives from school boards across Alberta.

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