Longstanding BSL teacher, Elizabeth McAughtry, from Lurgan, has won this year’s Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year in Education. Elizabeth was nominated for the award by Pam Tilson, Communications Manager with Signature in Northern Ireland.
Pam said: “I’m delighted that Elizabeth was won the Woman of the Year in Education award. This prestigious honour is richly deserved. Elizabeth has ensured that hundreds of students have been able to achieve our qualifications. Her dedication, professionalism and sense of humour shine through, and I know all those who have had the privilege to have been taught by her over the years will be delighted to learn of her success.”
The Belfast Telegraph, the main paper in Northern Ireland, runs the ‘Woman of the Year’ competition each year, and has several categories including, Woman of the Year in Sport, Health, Business and of course Education.
Elizabeth, 57, has been profoundly deaf since birth, and uses BSL. For 20 years she has taught BSL in local schools, colleges and other organisations, enabling thousands of students to achieve accredited academic qualifications in BSL. She currently teaches evening classes in Lurgan, commutes daily to Belfast by public transport to teach in schools.
Elizabeth is motivated by the desire to help hearing people who wish to learn BSL thus improving communication between Deaf and hearing people. For many of her students it is the first time they will have met a Deaf person, and she is very conscious of her position as an advocate and role model for the Deaf community. Her patience and understanding, combined with a fantastic sense of humour and her well planned and executed lessons ensure a high pass rate for her students.
Elizabeth combines her teaching with her role as a full time carer for her 86 year old mother, and was awarded the MBE in 2001 for her efforts in fundraising for local charities.
You can read more about Elizabeth and her success in the Belfast Telegraph on 11 November.