Award an­nounce­ment sur­prises Holy Redeemer stu­dent

Cara Cal­la­han re­cip­i­ent of NUFSICISUM Youth Lead­er­ship Award

The Compass - - News - BY CHRIS LEWIS THE COM­PASS editor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Holy Redeemer Ele­men­tary Grade 9 stu­dent Cara Cal­la­han won’t soon for­get the band prac­tice that took place last Mon­day.

Cal­la­han, 14, was the only per­son in a room of around 40 peo­ple who had no idea she was a win­ner of this year’s NUFSICISUM Youth Lead­er­ship Award.

The NUFSICISUM award — “mu­sic is fun” spelled back­wards — is pre­sented ev­ery year on Mu­sic Mon­day, the first Mon­day of May. Mu­sic Mon­day is or­ga­nized through the Coali­tion for Mu­sic Ed­u­ca­tion as a cel­e­bra­tion of the im­por­tance of mu­sic in schools. There is live streaming through­out the day of per­for­mances from across Canada.

The award in­cludes a plaque and a cheque that will be pre­sented at a later date at an assem­bly in Holy Redeemer, rec­og­niz­ing the win­ner as a Youth4Mu­sic Am­bas­sador.

“This year our school chose to sub­mit a video record­ing of the en­tire K-9 pop­u­la­tion singing “Who Would I Be” writ­ten and taught to the stu­dents by Cara,” ex­plained Brenda Hunt, Cal­la­han’s mu­sic teacher at the Spa­niard’s Bay school, and the per­son who nom­i­nated her for the award.

“It’s amaz­ing to see all those peo­ple singing my song – not be­cause (my teacher) is mak­ing them, but be­cause they ac­tu­ally want to.” Cara Cal­la­han

As far as Cal­la­han knew, May 1st was go­ing to be a nor­mal, ev­ery day band prac­tice.

Cal­la­han was led to be­lieve that Hunt was go­ing to be streaming a video that show­cased Cal­la­han’s first orig­i­nal song ti­tled “Who Would I Be”, which would ex­plain the pres­ence of her fam­ily, teach­ers and gui­tar teacher Terry Lynch.

How­ever, as Hunt was ex­plain­ing to the crowd what the video en­tailed, things took a turn that Cal­la­han wasn’t ex­pect­ing.

Hunt went on to ex­plain that she had nom­i­nated Cal­la­han for the award, and that the an­nounce­ment was re­cently made that Cal­la­han was one of six Cana­dian stu­dents to re­ceive the award.

“I was aware she made a nom­i­na­tion,” said Cal­la­han af­ter the an­nounce­ment, “but I didn’t know what it was for, or that any of this was go­ing on to­day. I’m over the moon ex­cited right now.

“Grow­ing up here in Holy Redeemer since kindergarten, it’s amaz­ing to have some­thing like this hap­pen in front of so many peo­ple that have made such a dif­fer­ence in my life.”

Cal­la­han told The Com­pass she’s been singing and play­ing gui­tar since the age of 11, and has been heav­ily in­volved in the mu­sic scene at her school for the past two years, of­ten be­ing called upon to help out with as­sem­blies, as well as be­ing re­lied upon for the up­keep of the school’s gui­tars – an in­stru­ment Cal­la­han says she is very pas­sion­ate about.

Cal­la­han’s song is the first she’s ever writ­ten her­self, and was ded­i­cated to Holy Redeemer’s cur­rent kindergarten teacher, Stephanie Men­chions, who was Cal­la­han’s Grade 6 teacher.

Cal­la­han said it was Men­chions who ini­tially en­cour­aged her to ex­press her mu­si­cal tal­ents, and that she had no rea­son to be shy.

“That’s some­thing I’ve only ever dreamed of hap­pen­ing,” said Cal­la­han, still a lit­tle emo­tional from the an­nounce­ment. “It’s amaz­ing to see all those peo­ple singing my song – not be­cause (my teacher) is mak­ing them, but be­cause they ac­tu­ally want to.”

CHRIS LEWIS/THE COM­PASS

Cara Cal­la­han, 14, re­ceives the news that she is one of six win­ners of the NUFSICISUM Youth Lead­er­ship Award.

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