Toronto students celebrate the greatest country in the world

  • July 1, 2013

TORONTO - Although school's out for the summer the Toronto Catholic school board didn't miss the opportunity to celebrate Canada Day with its students, albeit a little early.

On June 27, the last day students attended classes for the 2012-2013 school year, about 60,000 students went out into their respective school yards around 9:30 a.m. for a board-wide singing of "O Canada."

"There isn't a greater celebration that students need to be aware of and be part of than Canada Day," said Bruce Rodrigues, the board's director of education. "It is unfortunate that it doesn't happen during the school year so we need to take time to ensure that they understand why it is that we celebrate Canada Day."

Rodrigues, originally from Bombay, India, said there is nothing he is more proud of than being Canadian.

"I can't think of something that I am more proud of in term of all of the work that I do than being able to work in this marvellous country."

That's why Rodrigues, who'll leave the board this summer to become the CEO of the Education Quality and Accountability Office, made a point of making it out to St. Malachy Catholic School for one last school event.

At St. Malachy the singing of "O Canada," performed in both English and in French, was accompanied by a percussion band.

Grade 7 student Madison Johnstone had the honour of being the flag bearer for the event which drew about 350 students, staff and community members onto the school's front lawn.

"It was nerve wracking but it was fun," she said. "We really won the lottery when we were born here or when we moved here. It's an important place and an important day."

Although Johnstone was born in Canada, the diversity of her peers' place of origin provided a mosaic of ethnicity united by the colour red, which students donned.

"Many students come from various countries in the world," said Rodrigues. "To be blessed to live in freedom here and for all that Canada stands for and for all that Canada gives us we are just so fortunate."


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