Categories: Entertainment

STAR marks 25th with special book

Our Stories cover

It’s the kind of event that usually happens with silver gifts for the anniversary but this time paper is going to have to do.

STAR Literacy is celebrating its 25th anniversary of helping people with language learning throughout the community. To mark the occasion, the organization will be launching a new book of stories during a special event and community discussion that it is set to host next weekend.

“The theme is ‘what does it mean to be literate?’” explained Shelley Passek, STAR’s co-ordinator.

The event will feature some of the organization’s learners who will talk about STAR, what it has meant to them and why it’s important for them to have learned language skills. There will also be a guest speaker from Norquest College who will speak on the importance of literacy.

Passek herself will also talk briefly about the history of the organization and where it has gotten to now. She noted that there were 46 students in the program, the highest number ever.

“We know that the need continues to be out there and people are not shy about coming in and calling in which is great.”

The celebration is a fitting cap off to Life Literacy Month during September, she said. There, she will discuss facts about literacy in St. Albert and the impact that STAR has had over the years, plus guest speakers will also share their thoughts on literacy in St. Albert and in general.

Passek will announce the inaugural winners of the Literacy Champion Award to recognize people, businesses and organizations that support literacy within the community. She will also share some success stories from some of its learners.

And speaking of stories, there will be perhaps the best tribute to literacy and language learners at the same time. The book is called Our Stories, a collection of stories written by STAR Literacy learners.

“They’re not stories that go ‘oh, STAR Literacy is wonderful and it’s done this for me and that.’ It’s actual stories that they’ve written. It might be an experience that they had growing up, or maybe it’s a fable, or maybe it’s just a story that they’ve written.”

“When I started five years ago, they had been collecting stories every year. We would just collect them and put them together in a little pamphlet and give them back to the learners. I had this idea right from when I started: ‘Geez, I’d like to see this actually as a book, all compiled.’ They put so much work into this book!” she exclaimed.

Some of the authors will be in attendance.

The book will be sold for $5 each with the proceeds to be used as a fundraiser to help the organization with current and future programming. This includes such popular features as its Conversation Circle, which just started up again yesterday after taking the summer off. It is now back in full swing with free admission and drop-ins accepted. The 90-minute program now runs again on a weekly basis starting every Friday at 1 p.m. at the St. Albert Public Library.

The anniversary event runs Saturday, Oct. 3 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the St. Albert Minor Baseball Association Clubhouse located at 215 Sturgeon Rd.

Space is limited so people are encouraged to RSVP by calling 780-459-5864 or via email at starliteracy@shaw.ca.

For more information on the organization, any of its programs or the special celebration event, call 780-459-5864 or visit www.stalbertfurthered.com/star-literacy.

Scott Hayes: Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.