Rugadh do thuismitheoirí Éireannacha, a athair ó Faranfore, Co Chiarraí agus máthair as Guaire, Co Loch Garman, d’fhás Sheila suas i dteach a bhí an-bhródúil as a oidhreacht na hÉireann. Bhí baint aici i rince Gaelach agus gníomhaíochtaí cultúrtha na hÉireann ó aois óg, mar a raibh a hathair an duine a bhunaigh Cumann na hÉireann de Ottawa i 1959.
D’fhoghlaim sí damhsa Gaelach mar leanbh agus i ndiaidh a theagasc damhsa céime Gaeilge do pháistí i Brockville Ontario agus le déanaí ag múineadh a leagan síos agus céilí damhsa do dhaoine fásta faoi choimirce CCÉ Ottawa do na 8 mbliana anuas. Tá sí cuireadh go minic chun glaoch ar céilí d’éagsúlacht na n-imeachtaí éagsúla.
Tá sí ag foghlaim agus teagasc na Gaeilge sa cheantar Ottawa-Kingston do na 12 bliain anuas. Tá sí ar cheann de bhunaitheoirí Chumann na Gaeltachta, an Mheiriceá Thuaidh Gaeltachta tionscadail agus Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada.
I 2011, d’óstáil sí in Ollscoil Ottawa an chéad chomhdháil a reáchtáil beagnach go heisiach trí mheán na Gaeilge. An chomhdháil seo fhéach sé ar an ranníocaíocht d’fhéadfadh an Mheiriceá Thuaidh diaspóra a dhéanamh ar an bplean 20-bliain atá leagtha amach ag Rialtas na hÉireann i 2010.
Tá baint ag Síle le Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann ag leibhéil éagsúla. Thosaigh sí ag Feidhmeannacht brainse Ottawa 6 bliana ó shin mar Oifigeach Gaeilge don Brainse Ottawa agus tá Cathaoirleach Ottawa Brainse CCÉ le trí bliana anuas. An bhliain seo caite toghadh í Ceanada an Oirthir Oifigeach Gaeilge Réigiúnach.
Tá sí an-spéis sa Ghaeilge agus i dteagasc teangacha mionlaigh. Bhí a PhD ag obair sa Teangeolaíocht fhéach sé ar an shealbhú an dara teanga clásail choibhneasta na hÉireann. Tá sí attuned hiomlán le foghlaim na n-eilimintí gramadaí i dteangacha éagsúla agus a tháirgtear ábhar teagaisc teanga do mhúineadh na Gaeilge agus Fraincis mar an dara teanga atá bunaithe ar an cúlra sa teangeolaíocht.
Bhí sí bainteach leis an Mheiriceá Thuaidh Cumann Ceilteach múinteoirí Teanga (NAACLT) ar feadh roinnt blianta agus tá sé i gcónaí ag iarraidh a chur chun cinn ar ghnéithe éagsúla de mhúineadh na Gaeilge agus a fhorbairt chleachtais dea-theagasc teanga do gach ceann de na teangacha Ceilteacha.
SHEILA (SÍLE) ANNE SCOTT
Síle was born in 1960 in Ottawa to Deirdre (née Mulrennan) and Pádraig Scott. Both of her parents were born in Ireland, Deirdre in Gorey, Co. Wexford, and Pádraig in Farranfore, Co. Kerrry. Her childhood home was a major hub of all aspects of Irish culture. Her father was the Founding President of the Ottawa Irish Society (later renamed the Irish Society of the National Capital Region) and both parents were completely immersed in Irish immigrant assistance, Irish drama, Irish dancing, Irish music, the GAA, the Irish language, and the establishment of a chair of Celtic studies at the University of Ottawa.
Síle attended French language school at primary, intermediate and secondary levels, acquiring native competence in French. She began Irish dancing with Peggy Kendellen when she was in primary school, giving performances throughout the Ottawa area. By the time she had completed high school, she was already teaching. She established a dance school in Brockville in 1998, and began teaching with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann in Ottawa the same year. Her dance teams have taken first place at Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada 4 times since 2011, and have given many performances at other events. As head instructor for the Ottawa Comhaltas branch, she has also been responsible for calling monthly céilís, and acting as “Bean an Tí”. She is frequently engaged to call céilís in other locations (e.g. Kingston, Hamilton, Perth, Brockville), and for special events such as weddings. In addition to céilí and set dancing, she also teaches sean nós dancing, and placed first in the open event at Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada in 2012.
She learned basic Irish language at home, since both of her parents taught Irish language classes in Ottawa. She began attending Irish language weekends in 1995, meeting her husband at the second event in Montreal in 1996. Since she is a professional linguist, she quickly became fluent and began teaching at immersion events in Toronto, Montreal, and Kingston. By 2003 she was also teaching weekly classes in Ottawa for the Comhaltas branch. She became involved in Caint agus Comhrá, in Ottawa, which established their own immersion weekend in 2000. She was a founding executive member of Cumann na Gaeltachta (2002) the North American Gaeltacht (Gaeltacht Thuaisceart an Oileáin Úir, 2007) and Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada (2011). Her responsibilities in the Gaeltacht project have been far-reaching including not only language instruction, but also volunteer coordination, event planning, coordination and conduct, cooking, and site maintenance. Other events at which she has made critical, ongoing, contributions include the Summer Gaeltacht Immersion Week, Snow Festival (Féile Shneachta), and work days at the Gaeltacht.
Síle also writes in Irish, and took first place in children’s literature in 2013 in Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada. Other Oireachtas awards include 2’nd place in Irish language singing (style other than sean nós) in 2014, and 2’nd place in poetry recitation in 2015. In 2011 she acted as primary convenor of an Irish language conference at the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute of the University of Ottawa (where she was Assistant Director), concerning a 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language in North America.
Her service to the Irish language has also involved enormous contributions to the North American Association for Celtic Language Teachers. She has been on the executive since 2006, and has been primary convener at conferences in Scotland, the Isle of Man, Ottawa and Ohio. She served as President in 2011/2012. She established a testing center for the Irish language (Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge) at the University of Ottawa in 2012.
Administratively, Síle has served in many capacities in Comhaltas. She served as Irish language officer for the Ottawa branch from 2006 – 2010, after which she took over as Branch Chair, continuing to 2016. She has served as regional Irish language officer for Canada East since 2013. She received the Comhaltas North America service award at the Provincial Convention in Parsippany in 2015. She was inducted into the Comhaltas Canada East Hall of Fame in 2016.
Síle has been an inspirational Comhaltas figure in Canada, and in the Irish language and cultural community, for more than 20 years. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and she is almost certainly responsible for attracting more participants and volunteers to the movement than anyone else in the country during that time. Her generosity, patience, and genuine interest in people, are immediately in evidence. Her leadership, intelligence, vision, skills, and talents are legend. To this genius she adds the dynamic energy and fearlessness required to bring ambitious projects to fruition. Her contributions will be long remembered.