has become a Sutherland Secondary School tradition to have teacher Mark Fortin
perform for graduating students. Whether at the winter formal, graduation
banquet or grad ceremony, students have come to love to hear his musical
performances and tributes.
this grad year would be unlike any other, Mark and fellow teacher Alexa Smyth
knew they had to do something as unique as the year itself to keep the
tradition going. They decided they would bring together elements of music,
digital media and the Sutherland community to wish their grads well.
project began with Mark recording “Rise Up,” originally performed by Andra Day,
in his home studio. It was a real family affair--while he sang and played guitar,
his wife played cello, and his children were the back-up singers.
also became a staff affair. For the first time, all staff were invited to
participate in the initiative, gathering the week prior to the June 1st
school restart to record the video portion.
were extremely excited to participate. They wrote messages for their students, which were used
during filming and later placed throughout the school for all to see.
were also involved in the initiative. Alexa invited five Sutherland grad
students--who were excited, and somewhat nervous--to use their digital media
skills to support the filming and editing portion of the production. One student
secured a permit to use his own drone for a portion of the filming. Another
student, Hunter Gladstone, gave the Indigenous greeting and welcome address in
his traditional language.
to COVID-19, and the need to respect the guidelines around physical distancing
and the order to not gather in groups of more than 50 people, there was little
opportunity to get everyone together to practice. In fact, the entire heartwarming
production was recorded in a little over 30 minutes.
view the video of Rise Up, please click here.
view the Sutherland grad highlight video, click here.