Pauline Johnson public school students are to be part of a national broadcast involving 79 schools.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 10, 2015


The 50th anniversary of the Canadian flag is an ongoing thing – Burlington is feeling the celebration with students at Pauline Johnson Public school singing their little hearts out while a voice recording technician captures it all. Children from different classes are paraded into the gym and get put into place and given instructions.

The recoding technicians does several takes – one that was going very well got cancelled when one of the boys had a very impressive sneeze

Another got scrubbed from the sound of a camera clicking – it was my camera

Alice Mary St. James, principal at Pauline Johnson is justifiably proud of the students – the pictures tell the story.

Pauline Johnson - lined up

They stayed this still during the four recordings of O Canada they did.

Pauline Johnson Public School has a student population of 285 – it’s an older school; a place that gives you the sense it is well run. Like a comfortable pair of slippers.

Before each recording session the technician chats with the students: How old is the Canadian flag? Who was the first Prime Minister of Canada – no one got that one but when asked what Canada had before the Maple Leaf was adopted one boy knew every detail of what we used to call the Red Ensign.

Pauline Johnson - close up kids + girl

That young lady was not going to miss a word

Another little girl in that halting voice only a grade four student can have, explained in almost excruciating detail why we have the Maple Leaf.

When all the recordings are done they will be merged into a single sound track that anyone can download.

Hint here to city hall – the recording of O Canada that is played before each city council meeting is just plain terrible. Someone in the Mayor’s office could get on the phone and arrange to get a copy of the recording.

The school is one of 79 across the country selected for this program

Pauline Johnson - grouped with St. James

Rapt attention to the recording technician – waiting for the cue to start

Pauline Johnson with Steph MacLellan

Everyone is paying close attention – well almost everyone; four takes and the singing session was a wrap.

Part of the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the first hoisting of the Canadian flag is to have a student at each participating school write an essay.

Alice Mary St. James

Pauline Johnson Public School principal Mary Alice St. James

Because Pauline Johnson Public school was named after the aboriginal poet, grade 6 student Avery Cline wrote a poem

Why I’m proud to be a Canadian

Waking up every morning
Knowing I a free
A peaceful day lies ahead of me
To believe, think, talk and ask as I please
The potential of all rising up like a seed

From PEI beaches to Yukon Mountains
Kindness from others flows like a fountain
We all pull together and work as a team
With blue skies above
While the sun beams collide
Our destinies forever abide.

The great four seasons we hold so dear
Their own special qualities
That bring so much cheer

Now I’ve laid it out clearly
Why Canada’s close to my heart
A love for our country
Set each day apart, fresh starts.

Principal St, James, nearing the end of a public school career, is one of the schools that has Core French starting at grade 4 – she wasn’t disappointed when Core French starting at Grade I was not offered to her school. “Some of these children are not quite ready for language instruction”she said. There is no doubt in the mind of St. James that French is essential – the pedagogical question for this principal is –  when do you start?

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1 comment to Pauline Johnson public school students are to be part of a national broadcast involving 79 schools.

  • Lee Collins

    Apart from a few spelling mistakes:-) I absolutely love reading about great people, positive situations and young vibrant children who bring joy to all of our lives. I have two young daughters that attend the school. Mrs. St James will be missed dearly by all at Pauline Johnson Public School. This is a woman who cares and partakes in the daily lives of the children attending her school. She preaches good manners, physical activity and helps to instill the qualities we all want to be absorbed by young minds to become quality people as they mature into adults. Her replacement will have big shoes to fill and we all hope that person is as capable and caring as Mrs. St James.