Two members of the Lester B. Pearson School Board family – Beurling Academy Vice-Principal Alix Adrien and Lindsay Place High School teacher Catherine Hogan – have been recognized as community leaders by the Montreal Community Cares Foundation.

They will be among 17 community champions celebrated at a Gala Awards night on May 18 at the Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre.

“The 2013 Montreal Community Cares Awards will be a celebration of ordinary people who are actively engaged in helping others in our community,” according to the MCCF web site.

Both Hogan and Adrien said they were not expecting recognition for the work they do.

“It was a real surprise – and I’m very honoured to be getting the award,” said Hogan who made a message video in an effort to reach out to students. In the video, Hogan writes about her life – her parent’s divorce, a break-up with a boyfriend and devastating eating disorder and subsequent hospitalization – and even how, during her second year of teaching, one of her students committed suicide.

“And I never want that to happen again,” she writes in the video. “We’re listening.”

“YOU are why we became teachers.”

Hogan said she was surprised at how many hits her video received – at last count it was more than 32,000 – as well as how many emails were sent to her . (To view the video, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoF9WXk7Bfw)

“Of the hundreds of emails, most were from well-wishers and teachers from our school board as well as other school boards…,” Hogan said adding that she also received emails from a few teens outside of her school reaching out to her.

“A lot of kids at my school also reached out,” she said, “and that was the point of the video.”

For his part, Adrien said he too was surprised to be named an award recipient and added that he feels his biggest role has been his ability to communicate with young people.

“I remember working in day camps when I was a student and there were so many disenfrachised kids I was dealing with,” he said. “Maybe that little bit of communication with them meant something, maybe it made a difference.”

Beurling Principal David Abracen said that although Adrien has worked as a coach, teacher, school administrator, and director of a summer school, the only term that can really define him is that of an educator.

“As Vice-Principal for cycle 2 at Beurling Academy for the past 4 years, Alix Adrien has modelled what it means to be committed to student success,” said Abracen. “There is not a student, past or present, honour role or at-risk, who has not felt as if he (Adrien) was completely committed to listening to them and helping them find their way.”

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