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John F. Ross teacher receives Governor General’s teaching award

November 28, 2023

Guelph, ON – Congratulations to Erin Doupe, from John F. Ross Collegiate Vocational Institute, who was named the recipient of the Governor General’s History Award for Teaching Excellence. 

The award is Canada’s most prestigious history honour, which is administered by Canada’s National History Society and recognizes teachers who strive for excellence in teaching Canadian history.

Doupe recently attended the ceremony in Ottawa where she received her award and was recognized by the Members of Parliament in the House of Commons. During the events she presented her project as well as participated in a panel discussion with Canada History’s Society about the future of history education in Canada and how to build stronger connections between museums, schools and communities.

Doupe said she was so surprised when she found out that she had won the award that she “had to sit down.”

Many incredible history projects across the country had been shortlisted for the award, including one from another UG educator, Shannon Rankin at Centre Dufferin DHS. 

“Being included among those teachers that had been shortlisted for the award was an honour in itself,” Doupe said.

Doupe led her high-school students through a local history project called The Story of a Soldier, which centred on the experiences of Guelph’s soldiers and their families during the First World War.

The students worked closely with attestation records, diaries, historical newspapers and secondary sources, which they used to craft a short biography of a soldier. The students then mailed their stories to the soldiers’ last known address. The project took over five years to complete, and over 200 students were part of the massive project to document and share the lives of Guelph’s WWI war dead.

“I am so proud of the work that my students did to ensure that Guelph’s First World War soldiers, though gone, are not forgotten,”Doupe said, “History is an important lens for understanding the world around us.” 

In addition to receiving the award, each recipient is also awarded $1,000 for their school. “I would like to use the money to honour the work that went into that project and share it more broadly with the community,” said Doupe. 

This photo features a group shot on individuals, including Erin Doupe. This photo features Erin Doupe next to the Governor General.

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