- Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching (1982-83)
When Fred Wheatley was presented with the Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching he was an Ojibwa language instructor as part of the Indigenous Studies program at Trent University.
Mr. Wheatly’s story is an incredible one – after emerging from a residential school, full of memories of loneliness, hunger and punishment, he returned to his home on Parry Island to find himself unable to communicate with his own family; Mr. Wheatly had lost his native language. He began to relearn the Ojibwa language and promised himself that, if provided the opportunity, he would teach others.
His natural gift as a teacher and his credentials in traditional knowledge are two reasons why he was chosen as winner of the Symons Award. His teaching style has been described as gentle, lively and good humoured, and he has inspired generations of students to learn and preserve the Ojibwa language.