RLA Announces John Brant Award Winner

Explorer and author Adam Shoalts receives John Brant Award

The Board of Governors of Robert Land Academy (RLA) is pleased to announce Adam Shoalts is the recipient of the 2024 John Brant Award.

Adam Shoalts is a professional adventurer and Westaway Explorer-in-Residence at the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, national best-selling author, and public speaker. His expeditions range from mapping rivers to archaeological projects, but Shoalts is best known for his long solo journeys, including his latest adventure, a 3,400 km solo journey from Lake Erie to the Arctic as he followed peregrine falcons on their migratory flight.

Adam, who grew up down the road from the Academy in Pelham, graduated from Brock University before earning a Master’s and PhD at McMaster University where his research combined an interest in nature, history, archaeology and geography. While attending E. L. Crossley Secondary School, he wrote a nature column for the Voice of PelhamPelhamToday’s predecessor.

“There is no comparison between Adam’s solo journeys and the Fall Exercise our students embark on each fall, but the themes of resilience, problem-solving, and confidence resonate with the lessons our students learn on the Fall Ex and in our other outdoor, adventure type activities,” said RLA Board Chair Tim Hudak. “The Board of Governors agreed we could not choose a more deserving recipient.”

“Adam is an inspiration to our students and embodies the school’s values.” added Hudak. “His accomplishments, especially his expeditions, demonstrate a great deal of commitment and labour, not to mention courage.”

Robert Land Academy is a private, boarding school for boys in Grades 5 through 12 located in rural Niagara. The school uses a military model to offer a highly structured program and values-based education fostering respect, responsibility, and resilience. The John Brant Award is an example to RLA students of the connection between living with values and personal and professional success.

“I am humbled and honoured to be named the recipient of this award,” said Adam, who visited RLA before the pandemic and led the A Coy students on a local hike.

“John Brant was a fascinating figure in early Canadian history who played an important role in the pivotal battle of Queenston Heights. Queenston is a special place that I know well, having led archaeological tours and guided nature hikes there for several years, retracing his and other’s steps. This makes receiving an award named in his honour feel even more special.”

“Adam’s accomplishments, his passion for adventure and conservation, and his resiliency in the face of hardships the rest of us could never overcome, make him an obvious candidate for the John Brant Award,” said Hudak. “I look forward to presenting Adam with the award at the Academy Gala.”

The John Brant Award will be presented at the Academy’s Gala Event, Saturday April 20 at the Fallsview Casino Resort. Past recipients of the award are former Deputy Premier Christine Elliott in 2023, The Honourable Rob Nicholson in 2020 (presented in 2022 due to pandemic); General Walter Natynczyk in 2019 and Dave Levac, then Speaker of the Ontario Legislature in 2018.

For more information on the award visit www.rla.ca. For information on the RLA Gala visit trellis.org/rlagala

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