16:24 PM

Two Outstanding Teachers Recognized

Literacy Breakfast 4

"Growing up, I've encountered barriers to overcome, but I recognize that my learners have experienced even greater barriers to education and independent living. It is my desire to see that no one is left behind and everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed with the resources they have. A stronger Deaf community is a win-win for everyone." Patrick Cross, Professor & Program Coordinator

Academic Upgrading - Deaf Empowerment Program

Two of Mohawk College's teachers, Patrick Cross and Bruce Belcher, were recognized through The Adult Basic Education Association (ABEA), a non-profit, charitable organization supporting adult learning in Hamilton.

“This award is a community-driven recognition of our commitment and this honours excellence in Adult Teaching. As the only college-level, literacy-based program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing adults locally, the Deaf Empowerment Program (DEP) is critical to the success of those who wish to pursue postsecondary education,” said Emily Ecker, Associate of Dean Community Partnerships and Learning.

The ABEA celebrates outstanding learners, literacy practitioners, and lifelong learners in the community each year through the Leaders in Literacy Awards.

"We received several letters from staff and learners who commented on Patrick and Bruce’s passion and dedication to teaching and advocacy for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HOH) Community,” said Emily. “They lead by example. They demonstrate their passion for learning, dedication to their students, and a true team approach in all that they do. They genuinely care about the success of our students.”


Through their teaching and life experiences, Patrick and Bruce advocate for the needs and barriers of the D/HOH community and, as a result, motivate our learners to be their own advocates, said Emily. They are well-respected in the Deaf community, as well as within local school boards and community organizations.

The Excellence in Adult Teaching Award recognizes outstanding commitment and dedication by a teacher or instructor in adult literacy and primary education within Hamilton. 

"It's a validation of our team's work that makes my job easier and allows me to do what I do best. Our management team's support really makes a difference. They believe strongly in our program and support our ideas to undertake new initiatives that lead to greater success for our learners. To know that there are people on your side and that you have support to facilitate your learning is motivating. People often just go through the motions if they don't feel sufficiently motivated or supported," said Patrick.

This is the second time Bruce Belcher has been honored with this award; the first was in 2010.          

"I was surprised to win the Excellence in Adult Teaching Award again. I felt appreciative to be recognized for what I do with the great team of teachers we have at DEP. I was even more appreciative when my manager, Emily Ecker, decided to do her entire speech in ASL!” said Bruce. “Learning to me is being able to acquire skills and knowledge and develop them into abilities. Learning skills that can be used in  everyday life is what I strive for when I'm teaching students in the classroom."

And when asked about what motivates him as a teacher?

"I strive to provide opportunities for those who require tools to become productive members of society and the Deaf community. Developing connections through teaching is my passion for supporting skill development through daily learning. My motto that I use every day is - Anything is possible in life if you overcome your barriers and change them into possibilities."


For more information:

Mohawk College Deaf Empowerment Program

The Adult Basic Education Association

Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (Hamilton)