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Douglas High School grad honored for literacy volunteerism

Staff reports

A Douglas High School graduate from Gardnerville was recently honored at the fourth annual Literacy Awards held May 19 in Carson City for her efforts to advance literacy in Nevada.

Teresa B. Wittig was praised for her initiative in facilitating adult literacy in the workplace. Wittig, a University of Nevada, Reno student, leads the instruction of low-level literate adults at BTS Group and Emerald Cascade Restaurant Systems, both of Reno. Excited about her experiences in Spain studying Spanish and teaching English and desirous of continuing her teaching, Wittig became certified as one of Northern Nevada Literacy Council’s instructors.

After certification, she began working with a group of non-English speaking employees at BTS Group.

Seeing how successful her efforts were there, Teresa took the initiative to further expand the idea of literate employees. She is now working with non-English speaking employees at the Emerald Cascade Restaurant Systems’ (Jack in the Box) corporate regional office.

Between her classes at UNR and her literacy efforts, she keeps herself very busy.

“Teresa can be considered an ambassador of literacy when it comes to linking the needs of business and employees to Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs. Northern Nevada Literacy Council is proud to present Teresa B. Wittig, BTS Group and Emerald Cascade Restaurant Systems our Outstanding Employer Initiative Award,” said Emmy Bell, coordinator of the Nevada Literacy Coalition, which comprises 181 literacy organizations throughout the state.

A total of 103 individuals and organizations were recognized in several different categories. Students were honored for making outstanding progress toward the achievement of personal literacy goals, advancement in literacy learning levels and demonstrating use of basic literacy skills. Tutors and teachers (whether volunteer or paid), administrators and librarians were honored for assisting educationally disadvantaged people to develop or enhance their basic literacy skills.

Trainers were recognized for their efforts to provide training that enables others to enhance the quality of instruction for literacy students. Community groups, businesses and corporate sponsors outside the field of literacy were honored for making significant contributions to literacy improvements in Nevada communities in the past year.

In addition, 48 individuals were awarded their State of Nevada Tutor Competency Certificates during the awards ceremony.

“Those of us working to advance literacy in Nevada are delighted and inspired by the efforts of these individuals and organizations,” Bell said. “Their efforts go a long way toward helping our state to address need for enhanced literacy.”

Bell said that, according to the 1999-2000 Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac, 13.2 percent of Nevadans speak a language other than English at home, and that 21.2 percent of adults have less than a high school diploma. Literacy is defined by the National Literacy Act as “an individual’s ability to read, write and speak English and compute and solve problems at levels of proficiency necessary to function on the job and in society, to achieve one’s goals and develop one’s knowledge and potential.”

The 2000 Literacy Awards were held at the Carson Nugget and sponsored by the Nevada Literacy Coalition, the Nevada Adult Education Association, The State Council on Libraries and Literacy and the Nevada Department of Education. The awards are held annually.

For more information on how to apply or for information about literacy resources in Nevada, contact Bell at (775) 684-3340 or (800) 445-9673 (WORD). Information can also be found on the Web at http://dmla.clan.lib.nv.us.