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NWT man overcomes hardships to win prestigious literacy award

A Fort Smith man who once dropped out of school was presented with a prestigious literacy award this week for overcoming hardships and showing a passion for education.

Archie Larocque, an adult learner at Aurora College’s Thebacha campus, was presented with the Council of the Federation Literacy Award in Fort Smith on Wednesday.

Every year, one person from each province and territory is chosen for the award. The honour typically recognizes adult students who have overcome obstacles and demonstrated progress in the pursuit of literacy skills.

Having left school at a young age, Larocque faced a number of barriers throughout his adult life due to a lack of education.

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But after almost 30 years outside the classroom, he returned to school as an adult learner at Aurora where he’s enrolled in the Environmental and Natural Resources Technology diploma program.

His instructors say he’s persistent, dedicated to his studies and already showing impressive improvement.

“He is a role model for his fellow students who regularly seek him out for help with their learning,” read a press release issued by the college Wednesday.

Typically, the Council of the Federation Literacy Award is handed out to NWT recipients during a ceremony in late September as part of Literacy Week.

But Larocque chose to pass on the Yellowknife ceremony this year because he didn’t want to miss any classes – a decision that didn’t go unnoticed by his superiors.

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“It is that type of dedication and determination to succeed that shows most clearly why Archie Larocque was chosen for this honour,” said Kathy Tsetso, chair of the Aurora College Board of Governors.

“He displays a commitment to learning of which we can all be proud.”

Recipients of the prestigious literacy award receive a certificate signed by their premier as well a medallion.

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