Grade 7 teacher Justin Borsato of Vancouver’s Britannia Elementary School has been named the winner of the first-ever UBC Alumni Teacher Award for his work in the community and his commitment to giving students every possible learning opportunity.
In its inaugural year, the UBC Faculty of Education award recognizes the exceptional achievements of UBC teacher education graduates and the significant impact they have on teaching and learning throughout the province.
Borsato, who graduated from UBC’s Bachelor of Education program in 2000 after completing an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology, was selected out of 40 nominees.
“This award speaks to the transformational work of UBC Alumni teachers in the classroom and in communities, and we congratulate Justin for his inspirational leadership and the example he sets as a role model,” says Dean Blye Frank.
Despite working in an inner-city school with a high number of “at risk” youth, Borsato’s classroom is filled with enthusiastic students. He asks them to work hard and challenges them with demanding but engaging projects such as filmmaking, putting together newspapers, and creating their own civilizations.
At Britannia Elementary, Borsato coaches sport teams, works with students to create films to combat discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, brings UBC mentors into the school during reading-week, and has developed a partnership with the DAREarts charity program based in Toronto.
Outside of the classroom, Borsato tutors and coaches the HEROS hockey program for underprivileged youth. Through HEROS, he was also asked to operate a similar program in Northern Ireland that aims to help build relationships between Protestant and Catholic school-aged children.
“This award is definitely a testament to the quality staff at Britannia Elementary school, as well as the inspirational students who I have the privilege of working with every day,” says Borsato.
This year’s award grants $1,000 to the winning teacher and an honorarium of $1,000 to the recipient’s school for enrichment activities, programs, or development.