N.S. teacher awarded national honour for work at historic Thinkers Lodge
Published Tuesday, November 1, 2016 11:11AM ADT
A Nova Scotia high school teacher who shares her passion for peace and the famous Thinkers Lodge with her students and the public will receive special recognition next year from the Governor General.
A quiet, unassuming place, the Thinkers Lodge in Pugwash, N.S. holds special memories for Teresa Kewachuk.
“Growing up in the village it was kind of neat to, in the summertime you’d see men in suits walking down the street, going into the store, looking very happy,” recalls Kewachuk, who teaches social studies at Pugwash District High School.
The Thinkers Lodge is the birthplace of the nuclear disarmament movement, when scientists from around the world met in 1957, at the height of the Cold War, to find a path to peace. The Pugwash Conferences were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995.
Inspired by its unique history, Kewachuk turned the Thinkers Lodge into a living classroom.
“It’s really incredible and Miss Kewachuk has taught us a lot of the history and how it came to be,” says student Cameron Blaikie.
“She takes a lot of time out of the curriculum just to go through Thinkers Lodge and the impact that it had on the Cold War and tying it into our history,” says student Jayden Menhennett.
That’s why Principal Shawn Brunt nominated Kewachuk for the Sovereign’s Medal, which recognizes exceptional volunteer achievements from across the country.
“She makes this place come alive, so when she’s talking about the Cold War, the kids can feel it,” says Brunt. “When she’s talking about international Pugwash or youth Pugwash, she brings them here and she does a Skype with the real people.”
But Kewachuk, who also serves as an on-site manager of the Thinkers Lodge, says the award is not hers alone.
“I think I’m more of a figurehead of all the people that volunteer here, so I’m accepting the award for me, but also for dozens of people” she says. “There’s volunteers that keep this place open in the autumn, when there’s no summer students.”
Kewachuk expects to receive the award next summer, which also marks the 60th anniversary of the first Pugwash Conference.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Dan MacIntosh