Night of the Notables Reflection

It’s over. It’s finally over.

I just can’t seem to get that thought out of my head. In the days leading up to the night, time flew by faster than I could I realized. However, in the hours leading up to that momentous moment on stage, time slowed to an agonizing crawl. I must have rehearsed my speech at least forty times in the moments leading up to the speeches. Somehow last year it all seemed to take too long, but this year the set-up time seemed too short, even though it was nearly the same. Whilst trying to assist others with their large items, my learning centre was only complete with about five minutes to spare.


Although these moments seemed much too fast, as soon as we entered the MPR to prepare the speeches, minutes ticked away as if they were hours. That was the moment that it really sunk in for me that in a bit above an hour, I would be standing in front of a packed crowd, reciting a speech that I didn’t think I had fully memorized. The nights before, I felt as if my speech was memorized perfectly, but as parents began to arrive I started to question whether or not I had memorized it enough to not let my nerves get the best of me.

It was at this point that the anxiety started to settle in. Even after years of public speeches, this somehow felt different. It was a new feeling. It was a feeling that somehow this was more important. This was more important than any other school project I had ever done. And in a way, I guess that was true.

This is because of two reasons: This project is not about a mark, it’s about an experience. Secondly, it wasn’t a solo event, the entire night revolved around a team. This was when I started rehearsing my speech, over and over again.

Finally the doors were opened, and parents began to stream in. Behind the curtains with the afternoon class, people paced about, mouths forming the words they would soon say but not a sound would come out. People dealt with their stress in different ways. I found a guitar to play, Jackson repeated over and over again the he was going to be okay, a group of people prayed to the sun in a last ditch attempt for the aid of the gods, so that they may flow through their speeches without stumbling. Finally the deep, booming voice of Mr. Jackson was heard through the curtains. It was time. The MCs recited their lines, and the first sacrifice was now to be made. Jamie was to be the sacrifice, and as he stepped on stage it seemed as if we all stopped our pacing, our speech reciting, and began to tremble. I was not sure what he was doing, all I knew was that he was going to place a rose on the ground before starting. It seemed as if he paused for too long, maybe he choked? But luck was on our side as he flowed through the words of his speech with utmost precision. Alison was next, then Ryan, and then me. When it was finally my time to enter the stage, the only thing going through my mind was “Why are they clapping. Why would they clap when CLEARLY we had rehearsed transitions?”. I realized that nobody remembered to tell them not to clap. It took an awkward ten seconds for them to start before I could begin a choppy transition, which was supposed to happen immediately after Ryan had stepped off.
I’ve been in plenty of stressful situations, and one thing that I’ve learned is that once you start, everything will disappear, you’ll be calm and collected, nothing can stand in your way. Except for when your performing an Eminent speech. This was literally the only time that the stress didn’t go away for me, instead I was out of my mind all the way until I stepped off stage. But I finished. And I soon as I did it became clear to me that behind the curtains, invisible to the audience, we were a a community not separated by stress, but bound together by the  moments in which we feel the weakest. Behind those heavy green curtains, everyone was everyone’s friend. Support was the only thing found, a silent support that one could only understand if they were there in the moment, after having stepped off of the stage with your heart rate reaching a point where paramedics would be concerned for your health. This was what will stick with me about Night of the Notables.

Going back to the learning centres was a welcome break, no longer did we have to worry about a memorized speech, now we just had to play a character. Nothing more. This is when it was all wrapped up for me, all the goals of the project. Setting out, my main goal was finding out about the learning centre of who I think is one of the best teachers to walk this earth. Everyone tells you that interactive activities are one of the most engaging ways to learn, and that became evident during the learning centre period. There was only a few short minutes that I didn’t have someone holding the air cannon which I had brought.IMG_20141121_072433_1024x768 Parents and children alike were eager to try it, and in the second half of the night, once the crowds had begun to die down, a group of alumni were at my station for 45 minutes, trying to push the limits of what I would allow them to do. The end result was ripping three large holes in the target that I had set up. Not that I minded at all, it was expendable. The issue, however, was the with just a slightly increased PSI in the air valve, the projectiles would have shot a clean hole in the wall. I don’t really think I could have had a better activity at my station.

Coming into grade ten I was not expecting it to be an infinite increase over grade nine, but I was more wrong than I can imaging. A message to all grade nines: Believe me, if you thought that grade nine Eminent was exciting (or even a bit boring), nothing can prepare you for what you’ll experience in grade ten.

The interview

Sigh procrastination got the best of me with this post, but let it be known that I did complete the interview before my speech and it did help me by giving me an idea on what direction my speech was going.

So, for Gloria Steinem, I did e-mail her publicist however never received a reply. However, while we were at SFU and later on when I was browsing the departments at the University, I came across the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. Great I thought, there has to be someone in the department that has studied Gloria or the Women’s Liberation Movement so with a few clicks, I was able to find the general e-mail for the department, and (with the help of my mother, she know’s how to write fancy e-mails) I sent them the following e-mail:

To whom I may be speaking to,


            Hello! I’m Emma MacDonald, a grade nine student from Gleneagle Secondary. I am working on an eminent person project, and I have chosen Gloria Steinem. I was wondering if you could possibly put me in contact with someone who has studied the feminist movement that would be willing to answer questions about it and Gloria’s involvement in it? This does not need to be a time consuming interview, it could even be via email or telephone.


Thank you for your time and consideration,




From Reddit/Google images search

I got a reply!

Hi Emma

I teach about the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 60s and 70s so I hope to be able to answer some of your questions. Would this be by email or phone?

Jen Marchbank

I wasn’t expecting such a quick reply, so I eagerly replied with:

Thank you very much for replying so quickly! I’m very excited to be able to find out more about the movement. Once I have my finalized and approved set of questions, I’ll forward them to you, I think e-mail would be the easiest for both of us? As well, is it okay if I screenshot or post your answers on my eminent blog? I need something to be able to confirm my source. Thank so much for taking the time to help me with this, I will e-mail you in the next day or so!

I decided on e-mailing because it would be easier for recording answers and less time consuming since she is a professor at the university and I’m… well I’m in TALONS.
Once my questions were finalized and approved, I typed them out and sent them to her!
Good evening! Sorry for the late e-mail but I have my approved questions! Here they are: 

·    In your opinion, what was the pinnacle moment of the women’s liberation moment?

o   As well, in your opinion what were the most important events?

·      The Feminine Mystique was what brought many women to have feminist awakenings, in your opinion was there anything else that helped aid that?

o   Was there anything before it?

·       Focusing on Gloria,

o   In your opinion, was her role more journalism or public speaking?

o   In your opinion, did she have a bigger following than Betty Friedan?

o   What do you think her primary contributions were?

o   When did she really get involved in the movement?

o   In your opinion, what was her major “moment” in the movement?

·      In your opinion, did Ms. Magazine help keep the movement going?

o   If so, how? (If not, why?)

·      Do you think that the movement would have achieved as much attention as it did without her contribution(s)?

Thank you so much for your time I really appreciate it!

Throughout the e-mails I wanted Dr. Marchbank to know that I appreciated the time that she was taking to answer my questions so I thanked her more than a couple of times.

Again, 2-4 days later se replied with the answered questions:

Hi Emma

Please see my answers under your questions

—– Original Message —–

Good evening! Sorry for the late e-mail but I have my approved questions!
Here they are:

·    *In your opinion, what was the pinnacle moment of the women’s
liberation moment?*

Okay, it is clear that you are interested in the movement in the USA, so I will answer on the USA but please remember that women were organizing everywhere and feminism looked differently in different places.

There is no one pinnacle moment but I think there are a number of great advances, such as the passage of Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion in limited contexts in 1973; the establishment of NOW; the ‘freedom can’ at the Miss America pageant protests and the Strike for Equality marches (50,000 women in New York; Boston, 2000; Chicago 3000) on Aug 26th, 1970 which was the 50th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment – votes for women.

o   As well, in your opinion what were the most important events?
See above, but also, important events were occurring daily in women’s groups, of which there were over 500 by 1970. In these groups women came to realize that their personal problems were actually shared and political.

·      *The Feminine Mystique was what brought many women to have feminist
awakenings, in your opinion was there anything else that helped aid that?*

There had been other books but the period from the Second World War was a time which reinforced the cult of domesticity and so many earlier activists from the First Wave were ridiculed as ugly spinsters. However, it is curious that Friedan did not mention Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex or Alva Myrdal & Viola Klein’s (1956) Women’s Two Roles.

o   Was there anything before it? – see above

·       *Focusing on Gloria,*

o   In your opinion, was her role more journalism or public speaking?

Both, groups like the New York Redstockings question why she was held up as a feminist leader. Kathy Sarachild points out that she had the privilege to launch a magazine as she had the economic ability. It also did not hurt Gloria that she is beautiful and so became the poster child for feminism – and the media liked her, and she was one of them.

o   In your opinion, did she have a bigger following than Betty Friedan?
This is impossible to tell and is also not an accurate representation of feminism. It was not about finding a candidate to rally behind but about doing things differently. NOW and Liberal feminists agitated for policy changes to get women equal rights; many other feminists were about challenging the whole system.

o   What do you think her primary contributions were?
1969 wrote  “After Black Power, Women’s Liberation”

1972 founded Ms
1971 along with Bella Abzug; Betty Freidan; Shirley Chisholm and Myrlie Evers – Williams  – established the National Women’s Political Caucus.

o   When did she really get involved in the  movement?
After covering a meeting on abortion rights in 1969, what she heard really spoke to her and her own experiences of having an abortion. This is what spurred her to get involved.

o   In your opinion, what was her major “moment” in the movement?
I can’t answer this one as contributions are not one off events, feminism was and is organic and is continuous.

·      *In your opinion, did Ms. Magazine help keep the movement going?*
The magazine helped spread ideas but just like the Civil Rights movement the WLM had amazing ways of getting information and pamphlets out, spread and copied and discussed. Ms was the official face of one element of feminist publishing.

·      *Do you think that the movement would have achieved as much
attention as it did without her contribution(s)?*

I think there is a real danger in singling out the hard fought achievements gained by thousands of women activists and attributing it to one person. She founded Ms, she was a great public speaker, she was an activist within mainstream politics but without thousands of other feminist thinking women there would have been no readership for Ms.


This simple, but effective interview helped me tremendously with writing my speech and grasping a better idea on the Women’s Liberation Movement. With the answered questions, I was able to find a better direction on where to go with my speech, which also ended up with me having the perspective of Betty Friedan.

Advice that I got from the 10’s was that your interview doesn’t have to be with your eminent person because under circumstances, they could be unreachable so instead you could talk to someone in the same field as them. I do recommend this strategy (you could call it) for the interview! :)




Interviewing Mr. Taras Gabora

My Interview…it has finally arrived! This year it was considerably harder to get an interview, seeing as my person is not so well known to the general public. I really had to dig deeper to find a knowledgeable expert on my person. Despite my many failed attempts, in the end I was able to reach out locally and speak with my violin teacher on this topic.

So to trace my steps back to step one…

My first attempt to secure an interview was about one month ago, starting with an inquiry to the Juilliard School of Music. Being the prestigious music school that it is, I assumed that there would be at least one professor with significant knowledge on Niccolo Paganini. I contacted their general human resources department with the email following.

The Juilliard School in New York


My name is Alison Kim and I am an aspiring violinist as well as a student in the Academy of Learning for Outstanding and Notable Students (TALONS) at Gleneagle Secondary School in Coquitlam, BC, Canada.
Currently, I am pursuing a research project on the life of Niccolo Paganini, and I am hoping that Juilliard (or perhaps a single individual) could provide me with more information on this virtuoso.
This research project really means a lot to me personally as a violinist and academically as a student so I would greatly appreciate your help.
Please let me know if I’ve contacted the correct department, and if not, it would be wonderful if you could refer me to the correct one. If this is the correct department, I would greatly appreciate a reply, perhaps directing me to an expert in this field.
Thank you so much for your time!
Unfortunately, despite the cheery tone of this email, I did not receive a response, or even any acknowledgement. So I proceeded onward with some hope for my next step. I contacted the authors of two prominent biographies on Paganini’s life, the first being Dr. Herbert R. Axelrod and the second being John Sugden. What I didn’t realize until a couple days into my research for their contact information was 1. They were at least both over 70 years old, 2. They lacked an email address and 3. Their contact information (on university, publishing, and personal sites) were all incredibly out of date. Sadly, that closed another chapter in my interviewing process.
By this time, Eminent was already starting to draw near. The panic was started to tickle my feet and I decided that I shouldn’t waste any more time looking for an interview with a person I didn’t know.
My last resort was to interview my violin teacher Mr. Taras Gabora. Born in 1932, he is a graduate of the Vienna State Academy of Music. Some of his many successes are: serving as a jury member for the Paganini, Tchaikovsky, and Sarasate International Competitions, teaching at McGill University, and performing in over 11 countries in the world. Although it may seem as though I could ask him questions about Paganini at anytime, once again I was quite unlucky. My teacher just happened to be leaving for a business trip to New York the day after I decided to interview him and he only came back just now. Due to this scheduling conflict, I resorted to a phone interview instead of one face to face. To receive more detailed and thought-out responses, I sent an email with my questions one week in advance. These are the four questions that I believed my teacher could answer the best with his knowledge.
  1. How does playing Paganini change a violinist’s technique or musical style?
  1. In your opinion, what made Paganini so unique from any other violinist in his time?
  1. What would be one key factor that would help you successfully play Paganini’s music?
  1. Has the way violinists play Paganini changed at all in the last 50 years or so, or is it still stylistically quite similar?

I believe that sending these questions in advance really helped me receive the answers that I wished to hear. Although I received these after the official Night of the Notables, I was still incredibly interested in these answers and even it was only for my own personal knowledge and for this blog post, I still think it was very valuable. By clicking this link, you can hear the audio recording of my interview. I apologize in advance if the audio is not very clear.

Through these four questions, I learned a lot more about Paganini as a violinist than I ever could from a biography. This knowledge was really valuable because it also provided me with a deeper understanding of Paganini’s technique and musical style, which I can apply not only to this project but also to my violin practice. Although this was a bit different from the traditional information we get from a school project interview, I found that the answers given were more beneficial to me personally and it only improved my previous knowledge about Paganini. Night of the Notables may be over, but my keen interest in Paganini hasn’t died down just yet.

This year, it may have been tougher to get an interview and it may have caused a bit of internal panic, but it was still a great learning experience especially because it wasn’t so easy. It was completely different from the ease in which I acquired my interview last year although it wasn’t any less valuable. Compared to the rest of my research this year, this interview was really valuable on a personal scale. Reading a biography definitely let me know more about Paganini’s life, but I felt that the interview allowed me to step into Paganini’s mind for a bit through the mind of an expert. Despite the project being over, I would still like to know more about Paganini as a violinist such as the fingerings and bowings he used. I hope that my teacher would be willing to share some more of his expertise at my next lesson.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed this experience regardless of the hardships and I’m slightly sad that this is my last Eminent Interview, but I look forward to whatever the future will bring next!

Thanks for reading and my last two eminent posts for this year are coming very soon!


My division of 50 points:

Organization: 20

Information: 15

Overall: 15

Night of the Notables Assessment

(pictures coming soon)

I’m not exactly sure how I feel, now that Eminent is over. It’s frankly quite hard to believe that I’m not currently practicing my speech, making something for my learning center, or doing grade nine committee work. Eminent was such a big part of my school life, so now that it’s over it feels like I don’t have a lot of work to do at school (although that’s unfortunately not the case).

Imagine staying at a school for almost 14 hours. I’ve never been in a school for so long. By the end, I considered rolling along the hallway floor to get a cup of water for myself because my legs were too tired to move. But what happened in those 14 hours? Why was I so tired? How was Night of the Notables? Why am I asking you all these questions?


The Grade 10 Speeches were absolutely fantastic. I honestly don’t understand how they are capable of writing such great works, and I have no clue how I’m going to write a speech like theirs.  The speeches were powerful, moving and well-rehearsed.  I listened to every word of every speech because I don’t think I could have tuned out if I tried. They were that engaging to me.

A part of what made their speeches so fantastic was the transitions. I really felt like the transitions at the end of one speech led into the next speech extremely well. Unfortunately, it may have been broken a tiny bit because of the audience constantly applauding, although I’m sure it felt nice for the tens to be applauded after their individual speech.

I also made an appearance in Azaly’s speech. I was a nurse that was supposed to put him in a strait-jacket and then drag him off stage. I also had a line, which was “It’s time for you to go, Mr. Nash.” I kept feeling like I’d screw up the one line somehow on stage. I’d say “It’s time for Mr. Nash to go, you,” or something like that. I was frankly very nervous behind the curtain, waiting to face the crowd with my strait-jacket. I only had one line! I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for the Grade Tens. Fortunately, I didn’t screw up my line too bad. When I was dragging Azaly off-stage, he escaped my grasp and I thought I dropped him and broke his tail-bone but fortunately that wasn’t the case.


Block 3 and 4 of the school day were dedicated to creating or finishing our Learning Centers. I had created most of the elements of my learning center at home, so fortunately I didn’t have to do too much of it at school. I didn’t have a lot of elements to my learning center, but I’ll describe them here.

A Poster Board 

An Interactive Magic Trick 

Videos Showing Copperfield’s Big Tricks 

Interactive Card Magic Tricks



I personally liked my learning center at first but then I saw some of the learning centers from other TALONS students and I considered throwing mine away and hiding in the bathroom the entire night. This notion was strengthened when people began to spending a lot time at the learning centers on my left and right, and then spending about ten seconds to look at mine.

However, I soon began to realize what I was doing wrong. I was standing there and not saying anything for the first portion of the night, expecting people to come to my learning center and spend a lot of time at it. So I decided to draw people in with magic tricks, and then talk to them about David Copperfield after. Sure enough, my learning center began to draw in a lot more people than before. I talked to a lot of the adults about David Copperfield, as many of them had been to one of his shows before.

I feel like a really important piece of advice for the nines next year (especially for those that are a little shy like me) is to not expect people to stay at your learning center for long periods of time (like you want them to) if you aren’t going to draw them in somehow. Don’t wait for people to approach you. Instead, approach people yourself and you’ll have a lot more people at your learning center. When I started doing that, the learning portion of the night became kind of enjoyable as I finally began to interact with a lot of people.


To be honest, I’m quite proud of my work and experience with Eminent. My speech got a very high mark, and I felt comfortable talking in front of my peers. I feel like I can write another speech and perform in front of them again, without feeling incredibly nervous. I felt comfortable talking to people at my learning center, and I met a lot of TALONS alumni that I didn’t even know existed before.

I also didn’t procrastinate too much. I wrote my blog posts soon after they were assigned which meant that I didn’t have to write all my blog posts at the very end of the project. I wrote my speech drafts relatively early, which meant I had opportunities to revise it several time and receive feedback from peers. I would definitely say that I met my goals that I set for the project. 

I’d like to thank all the Grade Nines for doing all of that committee work. We worked really hard to make this night an enjoyable experience for us, but more importantly, the Grade Tens. I also want to thank Mr. Jackson and Ms. Mulder for putting so much work into the night, as well as Mr. Albright for helping and taking photos for us. Finally, I want to thank the Grade Tens for practicing so hard and putting on their best performances for our entertainment. It was really amazing to see all of them perform and I hope they know that every single one of them did an absolutely fantastic job.

What am I going to remember about the night? In the long run, I think I’m going to remember the amazing Grade Ten speeches, and I’m going to remember performing magic for strangers that I’d never met before. I’m also going to remember the countless times I talked to my TALONS peers before performing my speech, asking for feedback and giving help and feedback to them as well. We were all in it together, and we came out of the Night of the Notables stronger, and more united as a TALONS community.

My Speech

When I first laid eyes on her, I knew she was going to be my second wife. Mariatu is the niece of my friend Alie. They live in the nearby village of Magborou where I often visit relatives. One day I tell her that when she grows up, I will be her husband. This was decided by the adults; I will marry Mariatu in a few years, since she is only eleven now. [pause] Everything is going to change though.

There is a civil war in Sierra Leone. Rebels from different tribes are working together to take down the government. Destroying villages, raiding their food, sleeping in their homes and killing. Killing and torturing. Everyone has to be ready to flee the villages. If the village chairman hears of the rebels coming, the whole village must hide in the bushes for days at a time. The first time we had to hide, nobody brought anything with them. Now villagers are putting vegetables, cassava and bedding into empty rice bags for the times when they have to flee. Hiding has become a regular routine. With rumors coming more often, we have to be more quiet in the bush; eating raw food so the rebels can’t see the smoke of our fires; sometime having to hide for months. Alie has told me that their village is going to Manarma where there is more people, it will be safer there. I sure hope it is; don’t want having my soon to be wife getting hurt.

The day after Mariatu and her family arrived in Manarma, my village is attacked. The rebels are young, ranging from 10 to 18 years of age. Bullets and guns are slung over their bare chests. They kill over half the village, [pause] including me. I left my body to see the rest of my village. Pools of red are everywhere, a person lay in each. I float away from the horror in hopes of finding Mariatu and I do, but she is hurt. The rebels have caught and tied her up. I watch as the rebels burn down a hut with about 20 people in it. I watch as they decapitate a women with a baby on her back. I watch as they forced Mariatu to say she likes what she sees as they kill a man and his pregnant wife. I watch. And I listen. I listen to Mariatu cry, and prayed that she and her family would die quickly if they are captured. I listen to the rebels say they aren’t going to kill her, they were going to let her go. And they do, but not before they leave her with a burden that will be there her whole life.

“We want you to go to the President and show him what we did. You won’t be able to vote for him now!” they tell her “Ask the president for new hands!” They cut off her right hand first. [pause] Then her left. I watch as they take one chop at her right arm and two chops at her left just to get the hands detached. I watch as she passes out from pain. I watch.

When Mariatu wakes up, she runs. She runs until she reaches a pond, where she stays the night. Mariatu walks until her feet are covered in blisters. When she finally make it to a village, the woman of the village take her to the hospital in Port Loko.

Once there, the nurses at the hospital helped with her hands, and arranged for her to get to Freetown. I knew that with Mariatu going to Freetown, she would soon find out about what I had done to her. I watched as Mariatu was told the news, and could see the confusion in her face; as I regretted what I did. A doctor tells her, “Your pregnant.”

For months I watched her and her cousins go begging on the streets to get money for her family, as they were now staying in a refugee camp in Freetown. I watch as her stomach grows with the boy inside. When it was time for the baby to be born, Mariatu had to go to the hospital for a C-section, her birth canal is too small. She was too young. Why have I been so selfish. She named her boy Abdul. Mariatu never gave the baby much love or attention. Sh is very depressed and hates that the C-section gave her another scar.

When she finally goes back to the refugee camp, She is only interested in begging. She does not wish to take care the child because hasn’t bonded with Abdul. Mariatu able to go begging again when one of the women says she will take care of Abdul. One day Mariatu was holding Abdul while she was begging, and a man put 40,000 leones into her bag, about 12 Canadian dollars.She then realized that holding Abdul would get her more money. She would walk around and get more money than all three of her cousins combined. She started getting many journalists asking her about what happened so they could publish her story. But even after interviewing her, they would write her story wrong, saying that the rebels had raped her when she was captured back in Manarma.

Abdul became sick and needs a blood transfer. suffering from malnutrition, the ten month old doesn’t have much of a chance. Mariatu blames herself for this happening, saying that she didn’t love him enough. Even though he was able to get a blood transfer, I am able to see my baby way before I wanted to.

Soon afterwards, many things started to change in Mariatu’s life, and they were finally for the better. Mariatu was sponsored by two families, one in Canada, on in England. The English family invited her to move there, but she needed a birth certificate. A date was chosen and her birth day officially became May 25 1983, making her 14 years old. A few months in to her stay in England, she was invited to move to Canada with the other family, which was where she had always wanted to go. Canada is where she got a proper education and now lives.

Mariatu Kamara is now the UNICEF Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, telling people throughout North America her story. She has also created her own foundation that supports families who can’t support themselves, The Mariatu Foundation . She has gone from depressed and begging on the streets, to helping those who are still begging. She has gone from hating her life, to raising awareness of the issues in some third world countries, specifically Sierra Leone. More than anything, she has been able to take every conflict she has ever faced and learned from it, not let it bring her down, not letting it stop her. She took what she learned and put it towards helping others, and has become someone that represents strength, understanding and most of all, kindness.

Related Posts

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    The Eminent person I did this year was Mariatu Kamara. Mariatu was a victim of Sierra Leone's civil war ( 1991-2002). when she was 13, living in Sierra Leone, the rebels of the are cut both of her hands off. When she was 14, Mariatu was given the opportunity to come to Canada, and she…
    Tags: mariatu, rebels
  • 31
    I have chosen to research Mariatu Kamara as my eminent person this year. Mariatu was born May 26 1986 is the small village of Magborou in Sierra Leone. At the age of 12, both of her hands were cut of by the rebels of Sierra Leone's civil war. After that she continued to face many,…
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Wickenheiser Night of Notables

Night of the Notables 2k14

Once again Eminent was a success and everyone had a great time! All the grade 10s did very well with their speeches and the grade 9s did a wonderful job hosting! Everyone put a lot of hours into their learning centres; they all looked amazing! The afternoon TALONS did an amazing job with their speeches and were a hard act to follow, but I think the morning TALONS did a great job also. I was very nervous because I haven’t taken drama since middle school and it is difficult to speak from another person’s perspective. I believe I worked hard to learn about Hailey and her life and this paid off because I really felt like I was Hailey on stage.

This year for my learning centre I wanted to do more than the tri-fold poster board and the model display I had the previous year. I tried my best to incorporate as much hockey as I could into my learning centre and make it as interactive and engaging as possible for my guests! I had a shooting centre, a hockey game set up and even put together candy cane hockey. Last year when no teacher visited my learning centre I was upset but I thought perhaps the grade 10 centres were priority as their centres were more grand and it was obvious they put a lot of hard work into them. I realize that it is difficult to visit all the centres in a short time period. However, this year I was very upset that once again no teacher visited my learning centre, even if just for a minute. I put so much time, effort, and money into my eminent project and learning centre this year. I had an extremely busy November with soccer and several field hockey events that caused me to miss school. Although I was extremely busy staying caught up with my missed studies, I spent a great deal of time on my project, learning about Hayley and putting together the finest details for my centre. I would like to include some pictures so I know that my hard work did not go unnoticed:

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use password: hayley

I’m relieved that eminent is over, but now I am looking forward to in-depth! I want to make that bigger and better than last year also.

amira brar

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    Tags: eminent, lot, hockey, great, time, night, notables, hard, hayley, visited

Night of the Notables Reflection

The Night of the Notables began the moment I walked through Gleneagle’s front entry way at 8:15 am, laden with learning center supplies.

I will never be able to forget the moment when the locker hall fell silent as everyone realized my hair had been transformed into an Afro within minutes.

Or when we began running speeches and I just took a moment to watch from the back of the room as all the tens tried to practice onstage at the same time, like a kaleidoscope on steroids.


Courtesy of TALONS flickr

Or the feeling of trust that was welling up inside of me, the pride in my classmates’ work, the honor I felt to be performing with them. I felt like, even if I messed up, even if I fell short, my peers would catch me and bring me with them. I believed we would do well. How could I not, when even after hearing it time and again in practice, the speeches always impressed me, moved me, and filled me up with gratitude to know that these were my friends, my classmates, and I was sharing in the experience right along with them.

Or when I sat down cross legged at the edge of the stage, scuffed and worn from the performers who had traversed on it before me, and stared up into the stage lights. The seats were empty; snowflake decorations hung and diffused the light. A spotlight was shining dead center, on me as I took in the peace, the stillness of the theater and the surreal feeling of something beginning to be over before it has begun. It was nostalgic. I was full, full up to the very top with this feeling of home, of this is it, this is us, we are here, and I felt it well up until it was tugging at the seams whenever I took a breath.

Courtesy of TALONS flickr

And the moment when we all went in for a group hug, not needing to tell each other what we wanted.

And then behind the curtains, as we hugged and bro-fisted and joked and practiced and gave each other tips and spent a full minute standing like a superhero to give ourselves confidence.

And waiting in the wings, watching the person before you, trusting them wholeheartedly to set a scene you could walk into without a second thought.

Then the stark contrast of onstage, of the speech. Black on white and blinding lights, and trying to articulate the words, pouring yourself into the speech and hearing your voice crack ever so slightly. Buzzing with the energy of the crowd, of the sets of eyes trained on you, of the pauses broken by a voice that is so familiar, but enstranged with some rare emotion.

And a heartbeat later, off of the stage, high on the feeling that’s over, you did it, you only made one mistake and no one noticed. Being hugged backstage by the people who make you laugh and smile and aspire to be always something more. The heady relief and the sense of practical caution, that someone else is doing their speech right now, and the moment is yours, but it is theirs as well.

Courtesy of TALONS flickr

Of course Eminent wasn’t all dramatic emotional stuff though. It was nerve-wracking! We joked about everyone’s hilarious hair, and how people didn’t recognize me in the hallway, and how the chocolate mousse tasted good, but looked like cat food and ground beef, and how we were all dying for a sip of water halfway through our learning centers. We had silly pictures and sword fights with moustaches and discussions about police officers being tried for crime, and US President Obama’s promises of action. And then we went back to silly pictures and sparkling grape juice.

Courtesy of TALONS flickr

Lastly, I’d like to thank the teachers and the other tens for being simply amazing with everything they did, especially the feedback and tips provided. However, this thank you has got to be dedicated to the nines. Without you, Eminent Night is nothing! Thanks for ordering us dinner, calling up the alumni, welcoming the guests, setting up the learning centers, providing the food tables and making the whole night a success. You niners are stars.

Inter-grade Interviews

This year’s interviews were definitely a different experience than last year.

This year, I felt a bit unprepared for this whole “Grade Ten” eminent experience. I decided it would be best to talk to an alumni who had been through this to point me in the right direction. Luckily, the spectacular Sam Robinson was able to help me out. Her advice proved to be priceless and saved me a lot of stress and confusion.

The email interview:

Hi Sam,
How is grade 11 going for you?
I was wondering if I could interview you about your experience with Night of the Notables in grade 10 last year: mainly about speech writing/presenting and learning centers. I’d be very thankful for the chance to ask some questions about the tips to make Night of the Notables a smoother experience. The interview can be by phone, email, or in person, whichever works best for you. I know that finding time between two schedules can be kind of hectic.
Thank you so much!
Sure you can use me in an interview! You can email me, I’ll be able to answer anytime after 5:00 and will try to be as quick as possible for you!!
Thanks Sam, that’s awesome!
Alright, these are mainly questions about the “Grade Ten Eminent Experience”, so here goes:
1. What was the most difficult part of writing your speech?
2. What would you say are the three most important elements in an eminent person speech?
3. What are some things you wish you could have done or thought about before presenting your speech?
4. What did you feel like you were least prepared for (out of the entire night)?
5. What was the greatest challenge with your learning center?
6. Do you have any tips for getting people to engage and interact with you at your learning center?
7. Lastly, if you have any tips about how to survive Night of the Notables, they would be much appreciated!
I won’t bore you wth the full transcript, but I have to say that it was the chill-est interview I’ve ever had.
Since I already knew Sam, it was quite informal and way less stressful than last year. I think that, if it hadn’t been for Sam, my learning center would’ve been a lot less effective. This is because I have a tendency to overcrowd things, and put too much into my learning centers. This year, I stuck to two small physical representations of surprising facts, a poster with a quote, some conversation starter topics, and my Man (Scavenger) hunt activity. Other than that, the main attraction was myself! (Well, plus the food.) I feel like my learning center really made people talk to me, and get engaged rather than letting people walk by or read off a poster. It helped that I was sitting inside a metal rabbit run half the time. I had been considering running a video at my station, but ultimately left it out due to Sam’s warnings about not overdoing it and stressing myself out.
To Nines this year: If you want to interview me next year, you know how to contact me! I would be delighted to help you out. And I seriously recommend talking to someone who has done it before. If you want information on your person too, that’s great! Do two interviews! But getting tips from people who have lived through Eminent 2.0: Grade 10 is really reassuring.
And lastly, thanks Sam!


Works Cited
“50 Years of the Nature of Things – The Nature of Things.” CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 10 Apr. 2013. Web. <>.
“David Suzuki Biography.” - Childhood, Life Achievements & Timeline. N.p., n.d. Web. <>.
“David Suzuki.” The Canadian Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. <>.
“David Suzuki.” David Suzuki Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. <>.
“David Suzuki.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2014. <>.
“The My Hero Project – David T. Suzuki.” N.p., n.d. Web. <>.
“Nature of Things Features.” CBC-TV: The Nature of Things with David Suzuki: History. N.p., n.d. Web. <>.
“The Nature of Things.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Feb. 2014. Web. <>.
Pezzi, Bryan. David Suzuki. Calgary: Weigl Educational, 2011. Print.
Pezzi, Bryan. Remarkable Canadians: David Suzuki. Calgary: Weigl Educational, 2007. Print.
“Top 10 Memorable David Suzuki Quotes.” Global News. N.p., n.d. Web. <>.

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BiBLOGraphy (Nice Pun)

After reading these posts of mine about my eminent person project, I know what you’re thinking. Wow this Nancy Wake lady is really cool. Where can I find more info on her?

WELL. Lucky for you, this post is all about the sources I used throughout this project. Take a look.

Ever wanted a full retelling of Nancy’s life, from childhood to after the war? Well this book is perfect for you. It covers all important aspects of her life, from her childhood, to her marriage with Henri, and her contributions to WWII. I highly suggest this book to anyone looking for an amazing and true tale.

Don’t have time to read a whole book? This website might just be for you! It covers the most important aspects you would need to know about Nancy, with lots of detail but much more brief than a biography. It is a reliable source and cites all of it’s information.

This site here is good if you want to quickly find out the basic info about what Nancy did. It has lots of useful links if you do not understand something that it references, so you might end up learning more than you’d expect.

If you’re looking for simple, quick facts I suggest looking at this site. It’s very short, but has important dates such as birth, death, and major historic events.

And finally, if you like to see things on a timeline, this site has everything in chronological order. It not only includes info about Nancy, but also what you would need to know about what was going on in the war at those times.

I encourage everyone to go read up about this amazing woman, you won’t regret it.