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Niagara Region teacher Sara de Waard receives ETFO Writer’s Award

August 16, 2022

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has presented Sara de Waard, a teacher with the Niagara Teacher Local, with its 2022 Writer’s Award for her debut novel White Lies. This award is presented to an active ETFO member or a group of members to recognize published or unpublished works.

White Lies addresses mental health issues, trauma, teen romance, substance abuse and family. The main character, Missy, is a 15-year-old girl who suffered a really difficult childhood. In writing the book, de Waard wanted readers to feel sadness, joy, pain, relief, embarrassment, and resilience along with Missy. The novel has been listed as one of CBC Books' 14 Young Adult Books to read this spring.

de Waard is a teacher, author and screenwriter of Métis descent. Her love of writing started when she was in Grade 5 when her teacher, Mrs. Laura O’Reilly, told her that she should be a writer when she grew up. de Waard’s short stories and poetry eventually turned into screenplays and manuscripts, but one thing remained unchanged; writing is her catharsis. Her writing is often inspired by her compassion for the trials and tribulations of today’s youth.

“Through Sara’s character Missy, readers are reminded of the power of strength in the face of adversity,” says ETFO President Karen Brown. “Her writing encourages us all to nourish your own mental health with the self-care, compassion, and explicit love we deserve. For this message and for inspiring other writers, including students, to begin their literary journeys, we thank her.”

ETFO represents approximately 83,000 members, including public elementary teachers, occasional teachers, designated early childhood educators, education support personnel, and professional support personnel. Visit