#GovernorGeneralAward; #TeachingExcellence; #TwoWindsorTeachers; #HiddenCemetries; #EssexCountry; #UndergroundRailroadHistory
Windsor, Jan 20 (Canadian-Media): Stephen Punga and David Brian, two high school teachers who taught about lost black cemeteries in Windsor-Essex in Academie Ste. Cecile International School in Windsor are being honoured for their work Monday by Governor General Julie Payette at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, media reports said.
David Brian (left) and Stephen Punga (right). Image credit: Twitter Handle of Canada's History
These teachers were inspired two years ago by a CBC Windsor story which highlighted on the hidden cemeteries scattered throughout Essex County, and the rich history associated with the Underground Railroad.
"I'm kind of in shock...It's really quite an honour. What I think is important isn't so much that we were honoured, but I think that the project was important." said Punga.
Grade 11 geography students and Grade 12 history students were taken by these two teachers for a collaboration called the Lost Cemeteries Project where they collected data on black cemeteries and created an interactive map and database of headstones belonging primarily to settlers of African descent in Essex County.
"One of the reasons I love teaching was that I could learn every day. And Dave...was the catalyst behind it...great opportunity for me to get out there to see how this technology was used," said Punga.
"I think with the work that Steven was doing with his kids and our kids together, it was bringing to the point this is a this is a human story," said Brian, who is now the principal at a secondary school
"I really got a sense of the students had that appreciation because I know for Chinese students there's a great deal of ancestral worship."