A group of lucky SJASD students enjoyed a meeting with the Governor General of Canada discussing all topics under the sun, including her time in space.
On May 15, Mrs. Crawshaw's Grade 6 class at Lincoln Middle School engaged in a video chat with the Governor General of Canada, Her Excellency Julie Payette. Prior to this special opportunity, the class spent weeks researching material and preparing questions to ask in an organized fashion during the live chat.
"I am so very proud of my students for all their hard work preparing for the morning," said Mrs. Crawshaw.
At approximately 9:00 a.m., Her Excellency appeared on the projector screen inside the classroom, offering all students a great view for the discussion. Ms. Payette was greeted by 23 enthusiastic students proudly waving miniature Canadian flags. She commended them on their Canadian-themed attire and acknowledged all special guests in attendance, including: Chief Superintendent Mr. Lough, School Principal Mr. Betz, Vice Principal Mrs. Nuytten, Vice Chair of the School Board Trustee Lawson, Westwood graduate Jeremy L. (recent recipient of the Soveriegn's Medal for Volunteers presented by Her Excellency), teacher Mrs. Crawshaw, educational assistant Ms. Sykes and Information Officer Ms. Cameron.
Students spent the next 20 minutes rotating chairs to be in front of the camera to each ask Her Excellency one question, either personal and/or professional. Ms. Payette answered each question with great detail, openness and sincerity. She explained her role as the Governor General of Canada, her methods for managing her time and prioritizing her family, the feelings she felt while preparing to go to space and adapting to those conditions, special moments during her time as Governor General, what is was like meeting the Queen and much more. One student asked Ms. Payette what made her want to become the Governor General of Canada and she replied:
"I did not ask to be the Governor General of Canada. I was actually doing something else in Montreal," said Ms. Payette, who was teaching science at the time and taking part in speaking engagements centred on her experience in space.
"But the Prime Minister of Canada gave me a call. He said to me 'Would I consider becoming Governor General of Canada?' Even though it was a surprise, it didn't take long for me to say yes because when the Prime Minister of Canada calls you to do something for your country, I think there is only one answer and that answer is yes."
Prior to being invested as the 29th Governor General of Canada, Ms. Payette worked as an astronaut for 21 years and flew in two missions to space. She then became a well-known leader in the science and technology community, advocating for policy development and change.
Her Excellency shared with the students that it is a privilege to be able to travel across Canada, as well as to many other countries in the world, and to be able to engage with many young people like themselves. She encouraged them to find what they are passionate about and to continue to learn with integrity once they do. Mrs. Crawshaw and her students were grateful for Ms. Payette's inspirational words, informative answers and for the time she took to engage with them on this intimate level.
"This event has definitely been a highlight in my teaching career," shared Mrs. Crawshaw. "It is something the students and I will remember forever and a meaningful way to learn!"
Thank you to Her Excellency Julie Payette and to Mrs. Crawshaw for seeking out this rich educational opportunity for the students at Lincoln Middle School. She connected with Her Excellency at the Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers awards ceremony held in Ottawa in April. Mrs. Crawshaw attended the event to see two former students, SJASD graduates Devon and Jeremy L., receive these prestigious awards for their work with the Mission to Mexico Education Project. At this ceremony, Ms. Payette mentioned that, in her role as Governor General of Canada, she spends time Skyping with students from across the country. Shortly after the event, this opportunity fell into place at Lincoln Middle School.
Congratulations to Westwood graduates Jeremy and Devon, and to Mrs. Crawshaw and her Grade 6 students on a job well done!