Pam Sutton was trying to teach her Grade 3-4 class at Bayview Elementary about the perils of bullying. But she felt the message wasn't quite getting through. That's when she came up with the idea of getting her class to collaborate with local singer/songwriter/actor Peter Graham-Gaudreau to engage the class with brainstorming, writing and (eventually) performing their own song about bullying.
"We really wanted to create some content that would penetrate with the kids," said Sutton. "I think kids are so much more attuned to bullying and it is everywhere. They often don't have the practical tools to respond when they see it happen. I think this song might help them react proactively when they see bullying happen in the future."
Over the next few months, Sutton had her class start from scratch, brainstorming what bullying meant to them with sharpies and paper on the floor. Then, with the help of Graham-Gaudreau, they mapped out the lyrics of the song and practiced singing the tune.
The entire process took dozens of hours. When all was said and done, the class performed in front of the entire school at Sutton's retirement ceremony. For many of the students, the moment of truth was nerve-wracking.
"We performed in front of the whole school and I was nervous," said Grade 4 student Galadriel Brolly. "We did it and put it on YouTube, I was really nervous because lots of people could hear it."
It was a very powerful ceremony for the veteran teacher.
Grade 4 student Sapphire Angeli says she thinks the message of the song is important for elementary school students to consider.
"I think it is important to learn about bullying because if it does happen, you need to know what to do," she said. "You need to do what you can to make things stop."
Sam Ma agreed adding it is important for students to learn about anti-bullying techniques they can use to stop bullying from happening at their school.
Sutton and Graham-Gaudreau wanted to credit all of the students who participated in the song including Ella-Jade, Gavin F, Emma B, Bryn, Jane, Max, Sian, Sahara, James, Jamie, Kaden, Daniel, Mason, Ilane Piot, Romane Costi, Solomon Irama, Galadriel Brolly, Natalia Koss, Julia Kyi, Ava Nikolakis, Sapphire Angeli, Sam Ma, Kennedy Benko and Ben Reynolds. To listen to the song, click here or below.