Sister Rosemary Ward honored as Outstanding Tutor of the Year
Debbie Bradt told Sister Rosemary Ward she had nominated her for the award. It’s just that Sister Rosemary didn’t think she would receive it.
But she did.
On Saturday, April 18, Sister Rosemary was awarded Outstanding Tutor of the Year at the 24th Tutor and Adult Learner Conference, aptly named “On the road to literacy.” The event took place in Chicago.
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner was the announcer at the event. Other organizations involved were the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Literacy Office of the Illinois State Library, and the Literacy Volunteers of Illinois.
Sister Rosemary, who is retired, still ministers as an ESL tutor, as well as participating in peace and justice activities. She also cared for her sister, Joan, until her death in February of this year.
Five years ago, responding to an article in her parish bulletin, Sister Rosemary began working with Schools and Tutors on Wheels. This is an organization established by the Sisters of St. Joseph, based in La Grange, Illinois. The program works by providing tutors at multiple locations in the Chicago area for students learning English as a second language, GED instruction, preparation for the constitution test, or whatever is needed.
Sister Rosemary lives in senior housing in Bolingbrook, Illinois. Many of the approximately 300 residents there speak languages other than English. When Katrina, just arriving from Egypt, began joining them for coffee in the community center of the complex, the other residents began teaching her useful English words. Sister Rosemary got permission to enroll her in the tutoring program and to meet with her at the apartment complex, since Katrina couldn’t drive to an already established location. Eventually, Sister Rosemary, working with School and Tutors on Wheels and the director of her building complex, set up a new tutoring site in Bolingbrook. The majority of volunteer tutors and all of the students were residents of the complex.
Bradt is the program director for Schools and Tutors on Wheels, now in its 22nd year of operation. She said she nominated Sister Rosemary for the award because of her commitment to helping people learn the English language.
“She is committed to her students and she is willing to help people at her location,” Bradt said. “It’s pretty involved. But Sister Rosemary is tireless in her dedication and commitment to her students and the tutors.”
“I never expected to receive the award,” Sister Rosemary said. “I’ve seen what people do and I don’t think I do that much. Everyone works so hard with their students.”