Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching Presented to Buchanan Park School Teacher

This article, from November 30, celebrates Dawn Martens – who won the 2020 Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Hello Ward 8 Neighbours,

Buchanan Park School will be celebrating one of their own this week, as teacher Dawn Martens receives the Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching.

For more details, please continue reading below…

The Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching aims to recognize excellence in the teaching of Canadian history, to inspire teachers and schools to strive for excellence in Canadian history education, and to promote and facilitate the sharing of best practices and innovative teaching ideas within Canada’s teaching community.

For 25 years, Mrs. Martens has lead the Buchanan Park Opera Club, which began when Mrs. Martens took a class of Grade 5 students to see a dress rehearsal for La Bohème, which inspired the kids and their teacher to put on their own productions, according to the Hamilton News.

With the pandemic this year, as well as the closing of school, there was concern that the opera would be put on hiatus this year. However, Mrs. Martens is never one to turn down a challenge, so a virtual opera was produced.  

The cast members were provided with tracks to rehearse and sing to, their individual performances were recorded by family and friends, and all of the recordings were then edited together.

In the words of the Buchanan Park Opera Club, the resulting video embodies the performance of the opera by Jewish Czech composer Hans Krása with a libretto by Adolf Hoffmeister, made most famous by performances by the children of Theresienstadt concentration camp (Terezín) in occupied Czechoslovakia.  The production also delves into the tragic back story of the children and adults that produced and performed this opera.  The opera itself is light hearted, but the story of its production and aftermath is tragic.

Mrs. Martens guided her grades 4 to 6 students on an interdisciplinary project to study and present Hans Krása’s opera, Brundibár. Below you can hear from Mrs. Martens in her own words as well as view the performance:

Again, congratulations to Mrs. Martens on this tremendous achievement!

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