TCDSB trustee Angela Kennedy spearheaded the vote.

Toronto students to begin their day singing ‘O Canada’

By 
  • April 23, 2012

TORONTO - Students in Toronto Catholic schools will now begin their school day by singing our national anthem each morning.

On April 19, the Toronto Catholic District School Board voted 7-3 to have students sing “O Canada” a cappella during opening exercises.

To lead by example, trustee Angela Kennedy, who spearheaded the vote, uploaded a video of herself on YouTube singing “O Canada” without any background music.

“Over the years, I have been attending graduations at our schools and noticed that the students and parents were not singing ‘O Canada’ when it was played,” Kennedy told The Catholic Register. “I thought maybe it was because they weren’t expected to sing on a daily basis… So I thought it was my duty to bring this to the attention of my colleagues to change the policy so that students would be encouraged to sing.”

Video: Trustee Kennedy sings O Canada

Existing policy regulations stated that a version of “O Canada” would be played during opening exercises, she said.

“But some students were singing and some were just listening.

“We want to graduate good citizens,” she said. “We teach Catholic values and part of those values includes civic pride.”

Kennedy also feels it’s a way for students to become more united, she said.

But students will not be forced to sing.

“We don’t have any anthem police.”

The motion has been overhyped in the media, said trustee John Del Grande.

“It was really just about ensuring that we’re promoting active citizenship,” he said.

A lot of schools were already singing it and had different methods of doing it, but this was just about trying to get some consistency, he added.

Trustee Jo-Ann Davis voted against the change after her motion to change the phrase “students will sing a cappella” to “encourage students to sing a cappella” lost by a tie vote.

“Obviously we’re all in favour of singing the national anthem… but certainly speaking with students and teachers and parents, I think you encourage singing by having some kind of musical accompaniment,” said Davis.

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