Regina teacher recognized with 2022 Prime Minister’s Award

Regina’s Cornwall Alternative School helps students between grades 7 and 10 get their education path back on track.

For nearly 25 years Gilbert Will has been essential in aiding students transition back to mainstream schools.

Now, thanks to his peers and students, he’s being nationally recognized for it.

Gill, as his students call him, was recently the recipient of the 2022 Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

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The federal government hands out the award to teachers across the country who dedicate their lives to inspiring the next generation of leaders in classrooms right across the country.

“I was over the moon; I had no words for how I felt. It’s something I never envisioned ever happening,” said Gill.

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For the longtime educator, the accolades are appreciated but not the motivation.

“For me it’s about seeing them finally realize that they can do it. They can achieve what they want. That they are capable and achieve those goals,” said the teacher.

Cornwall Alternative School is an independent which takes in students that are referred by local school boards with extreme challenges in attendance, behaviour, mental health and academic performance.

The school has a maximum of 42 students with classes usually made up of 10-12 students.

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Students stay at Cornwall for one to two years or until they have the tools to reintegrate into the public or catholic school system.

Gill was nominated for the award by his principal Bryan Rice, who described the teacher as always willing to go the extra mile for each of his students.

“Gill’s commitment to his student’s success is what drives his own success as a teacher. He goes above and beyond for his students to create a positive and lasting impact,” said the principal.

Grade 10 student Leafy Thompson’s has only had Gill as a teacher for one month but its already paying dividends.

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Leafy says Gill’s approachability and one on one teaching style set him apart.

Grade 10 student Leafy Thompson hard at work. Adrian Raber / Global News

“He helps me so I listen to him. It’s a respect thing. If they respect me then I will respect them. It goes both ways,” said Thompson.

Gill was also praised for his relationship building with the families of his students, keeping close communication and even making house visits to provide extra support.

“Trust is key, it’s paramount. If they can trust you and that you have their best interests at heart, whether they can verbalize it or not, it goes a long way,” said Gill.

Gil will receive a certificate signed by the Prime Minister acknowledging his contribution to teaching excellence.

“He’s a cool teacher; I’m glad to have him. He’ll have an impact on my life,” said Thompson.


© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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