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Jon Adams wins Literacy Nova Scotia’s 2015 Adult Learners’ Week Award in the Work Activity Category


How Learning has Changed My Life
Jon Adams – Options Work Activity Program

Until fairly recently, education didn’t matter much to me. I did little more than what was necessary to graduate from high school. After a few years I had forgotten almost everything I learned in school. A calculator was all I needed for math; I couldn’t even remember how to borrow when subtracting. Even those who seemed intelligent to me were lacking in math skills, so I saw no reason to do anything about my problem.

Shortly after starting the Options Work Activity Program, education started to grow on me. This is partly due to upgrading instructors with real passion for what they do. Also, I had grown up a little. Eventually I wanted to take in all I could in the time available. Math became my favorite class. It was the perfect end to my work week in the second phase of the program. It’s very hands-on, appealing to my analytical mind and as an added bonus it is useful for my vintage television repair hobby. By the time the upgrading classes ended, I had a fairly solid grip on whole number operations. My overall math score on Canadian Adult Achievement Test had reached post high school.

I didn’t want to just stop it all, but I couldn’t continue learning new math operations without instruction, so I continued working on my chosen science series in my spare time. Rather than try to choose a concentration I chose a series with a little bit of everything. I don’t just read the material; I study it with the hope of not having to refer to it when answering the questions. Doing it any other way would be pointless. Even though this is not my preferred learning style and the earlier units were more interesting, I’m dedicated to finishing.

For my work option, I chose customer service. In my opinion, it is the most valuable work option offered. I’m passionate about serving others, but was severely lacking in experience and knowledge of how to properly deal with others. The instruction delivered by my highly competent facilitator along with my work experience helping with deliveries to grocery stores has helped me get started on the road to becoming the kind of person I really want to be. As long as I do my best to keep walking tall, I will be successful.

I will continue to seek out new learning opportunities. Most importantly, I must study and practice what I’m passionate about. Any piece of paper that says I have completed a course only means that the foundation has been placed. I must continue to practice and apply whatever I learn to get the full benefit. If I choose to get more formal education, I will likely start with the Academic and Career Connections program at Nova Scotia Community College. Their science for technology offering looks most appealing to me.

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Mahnaz Musawi wins the 2015 Literacy NS Adult Learning Week Essay Contest Award in the English as a Second Language Category.


How Learning Changed My Life
Mahnaz Musawi – Cunard Learning Centre

I am twenty years old. I am student at the Cunard Learning Centre. My nationality is Afghani, but I was born in Iran.

My grandparents moved to Iran thirty- six years ago to study and get an education for their children. Also, they wanted to get a job and earn a little money, but they couldn’t. They thought when they moved to Iran it would be a good country for them, but it was not. After a while, they had some problems. First of all, Iran’s government didn’t permit them to study. Afghan people had to pay a lot of money for school, for every grade, for books, and school insurance. Some of them could pay this money, but some of them couldn’t.

I started school when I was seven, but when I was nine I had to stop because my dad couldn’t pay. My dad was a labourer. I cried a lot. But my dad worked very hard and earned the money for me to go back to school. I loved to study and get an education. I went to school every year and it was very expensive. Finally, I finished grade 11 with difficulty and after that I didn’t go to school because I didn’t have a lot of money to pay. Also, my brother and sister didn’t go too.

One month later, I was looking to find a job. I went to the every store, but they didn’t accept me because I didn’t have a high school diploma and also because I was Afghani. I became sad and angry. I asked myself why they didn’t accept me because I was Afghani. I am a human like another person. I am a girl who lives in Iran. But Iranian people didn’t know this. They treated us badly.

In 2012, I married and I came to Canada. On the first day, I asked some questions of my husband about education here. He told me everything is good here. Everyone can study because there is no difference between you and another person. I became happy when I heard this. I started my school on November 10, 2013 at the Immigrants Services Association of Nova Scotia or ISANS. In the ISANS, my teacher helped me very much. When I didn’t understand he explained it to me very well. And, he told me it is never too late to learn and return to school and get an education. Also, it is never too late to change direction in your life. He told me, you can study at any time. I learned the alphabet for one week.

After one month, I came to the Adult Learning Program to complete my grade 12 and get my high school diploma. Adult Learning has given me many skills. I need to continue my education. Also, adult learning has made me believe that everything is possible. And, have given me the opportunity to do the best in my life. Learning lets me give something back to my community. Age is not important. I can see the sun shining on all of my goals in the future. My teachers made me a more confident person. In addition, they encouraged me to study more.

I am now working in a store to save a little money for university in the future. I will go to the NSCC this September. I wish to become a pharmacist in Canada.

I love Canada because I can study. I am like another person in Canada now. I wish to have an education for every child in the world because education and learning change our lives very much. Also, it helps us to become independent people. I got a lot of experience to live better for myself and my family. I now feel more confident in everything I do. Thank you for your kind attention.

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Mahnaz Musawi writes award winning essay for Nova Scotia Adult Learners’ Week Contest.

Halifax, NS: We are proud to announce that Cunard Learning Centre student Mahnaz Musawi will be receiving the English as an Additional Language (EAL) Award in Literacy Nova Scotia’s Adult Learners’ Week Essay Contest this Friday, April 17th. It is the fourth consecutive year that a student from our Level 2 EAL program has composed the winning entry. It may be the last. Funding cuts from the Department of Labour and Advanced Education have led to slashes in programming, and as a result Cunard will be forced to eliminate the successful Level 2 EAL program as well as an instructor.

UNESCO International Adult Learners’ Week (April 13th -17th,  2015) is traditionally a time to celebrate our students and their achievements.  We strive to provide our learners with the best possible education, and have seen many successes thanks to their dedication to learning and our instructors’ commitment to teaching. Over 50% of Cunard’s students are new Canadians, and they have been working hard to further their education so they can contribute and participate more effectively in their community. The recent Ivany report suggests that one of the ways Nova Scotia can stop its economic slide is to encourage and support immigration. Cutting programs that are vital to their successes certainly doesn’t not seem welcoming. Our students are enthusiastic learners, we just need the funding to provide them with the opportunities they’ve worked so hard for.

Cunard Learning Centre is a community-based program offering classes for Levels I, II and III of the Adult Learning Program and  until recently Level II EAL. We’ve been engaging adult learners in the HRM for 20 plus years.  Cunard Learning Centre is division of the MetroWorks family of programs and are co-located with Options Work Activity and Stone Hearth Bakery.  For more information about our programs, or to read Mahnaz’ award winning essay, please visit us on the web at


Media Contact :
Joni Mattatall
902-453-6246 ext 101

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