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Grace Sparkes: Blazing a Trail to Independence
by Marie-Beth Wright

Grace Sparkes: Blazing a Trail to Independence by Marie-Beth Wright

ISBN-10: 1771170042
ISBN-13: 9781771170048

Price: CDN$19.95

Book Description
Grace Margaret Patten Sparkes (1908–2003) was born in Grand Bank, the youngest of ten children born to Elizabeth Hickman and John B. Patten. A lover of music, curling, and politics, this fierce anti-Confederate made a name for herself in the political arena under the auspices of the Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Labrador. Just as notable are her lifelong contributions to academics through scholarship and award initiatives, her setting of high standards of excellence for her students during her years as a schoolteacher, her brightening of living rooms across the province as Grandma Walcott on CBC Television’s Tales from Pigeon Inlet, her work as a reporter for the Daily News, and her efforts in her latter years to better the lives of seniors through social programs.

“Gracie” was a pioneer for women in the workplace, an advocate for seniors’ rights, and an activist in every sense of the word, and her name lives on in the MV Grace Sparkes, a ferry that today plies the waters of this province. Here, for the first time, is the biography of this remarkable woman.

About the Author
Marie-Beth Wright was born in Valleyfield, Bonavista Bay, and attended Memorial University, graduating in 1968 with a B.A. in English, conjointly with a B.Ed. in secondary studies. She later obtained a concentration in French and a certificate in business administration. Her educational formation has been reflected in her work life, which has extended to teaching high school, freelance journalism, and being a partner in her family’s long-time business, George Green and Son Limited. She has also worked in Christian education and as an adult education instructor at both the College of the North Atlantic and MUN’s Lifelong Learning Department, for business and conversational French, respectively. Additionally, she performed bilingual contract work in the federal public service and worked as a substitute teacher.

Her desire to contribute and keep busy she attributes to her parents’ lifestyle as small business owners and community leaders in Bonavista North. Marie-Beth has also contributed greatly in her volunteer life to the SPCA, Gower Street United Church, L’Association francophone de Saint Jean, the Terry Fox Run, the Encounters with Canada program, and Canadian Parents for French, an organization in which she has been granted lifetime membership status.

Marie-Beth is married to Carl Wright, a retired mathematics and history teacher from Greenspond. They are the parents of two sons, Geoffrey and Jordan. Marie-Beth began research on Grace Sparkes in 2006, but work commitments and family life slowed the manuscript’s progress. Marie-Beth’s interests range from politics, the environment, her community, and social issues to travelling, sports, and choral singing. She confesses that Grace’s spirit of involvement has made her more active in the community since she began her research. Marie-Beth thanks the many wonderful friends and relatives of the indomitable Ms. Sparkes who kindly provided source material for this work

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