The Connie St. Louis O’Brien Memorial Award

*Donation link found below*

In the realm of the arts, there are remarkable individuals who transcend the role of a teacher and become beacons of inspiration, love, and unwavering support. Connie St. Louis-O’Brien was such a teacher and today, I want to celebrate one such person—a dance teacher who was known for her kindness, generosity, and loving disposition. Her impact on her dance students’ lives, particularly those who needed a supportive figure, was profound and transformative.

This extraordinary dance teacher, Connie possessed a unique ability to recognize the students who were silently battling their own challenges. She saw beyond the dance studio’s mirrored walls, delving into their hearts and souls, and became a guiding light in their lives. For those students who desperately needed a supportive figure, she became an unwavering source of comfort, guidance, and encouragement. *continued below*

Purpose of the Award

This award is presented to a graduating Dance student who embodies genuine kindness and compassion and who leads with encouragement in small and big moments. This student consistently offers gentle support and good humour while sharing their true passion for dance.


Graduating Canterbury High School student with a focus in dance.

Judging/Criteria for Selection of Winner

No application required. OCDSB staff from Canterbury to select recipient and notify the Education Foundation of Ottawa.


One (1) annual award of $250.

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In her dance classes, she created a safe haven where these students could express themselves freely, where their bodies moved with grace, and where their hearts found solace. She understood that dance was not just about technique and precision—it was a language of emotions, a form of catharsis, and a pathway to healing. Through the art of dance, she provided a sanctuary for these students to find release and discover their true selves.

This dance teacher possessed an incredible gift—the ability to inspire confidence and self-belief in those who doubted themselves. For students grappling with self-doubt, she offered unwavering support and reassurance. She believed in their potential, even when they couldn’t see it themselves, and her unwavering faith ignited a flame of confidence within them.

These students, who often felt overlooked or misunderstood, found in her a mentor who saw their worth and encouraged them to shine. She understood that dance was not just about technique—it was about passion, individuality, and personal expression. With her guidance, they discovered the power of their unique voices and learned to dance from the depths of their souls.

Beyond the studio and school, she took a genuine interest in their lives, understanding that their journey as dancers was intertwined with their personal experiences. She listened with empathy, offering a shoulder to lean on and guidance during challenging times. Her love extended far beyond dance—it encompassed the holistic development of each student, nurturing their minds, bodies, and spirits.

Through her kindness, generosity, and loving disposition, she instilled in her students a sense of belonging, purpose, and self-worth. She created a dance family, where everyone was valued and embraced for who they were. Her unconditional love and unwavering support fostered an environment where these students could flourish, not just as dancers, but as confident, compassionate individuals.

Today, as these dance students reflect on their journeys, they carry with them the indelible mark she left upon their hearts. They are equipped with the lessons she imparted, the resilience she nurtured, and the love she bestowed upon them. Her influence has empowered them to overcome obstacles, to embrace challenges, and to believe in their own artistic potential.

In a world where supportive figures are often few and far between, she emerged as a shining light—a dance teacher who saw the untapped potential in every student and had the extraordinary ability to nurture it. The lives she touched will forever bear the imprint of her kindness, and the impact she had on those who needed it the most will never be forgotten.

Many students from years past have expressed their deep gratitude to this remarkable dance teacher. They have conveyed appreciation for Connie for being a source of unwavering support and love. Her legacy lives on through the dance students whose lives she positively impacted, especially those who needed a supportive figure to guide them and is recognized through this annual award. She made an immeasurable difference, shaping their futures and instilling within them a belief in their own artistic brilliance.

May her legacy live on, and the journey continue to be filled with love, joy, and the knowledge that Connie St. Louis- O’Brien has touched countless lives through the transformative power of dance.

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