There's a buzz of excitement at the RancheView School for a special Canadian citizenship ceremony they've worked hard to organize for tomorrow afternoon.
Citizenship certificates will be presented to about 40 new Canadians at a ceremony being orchestrated by the entire school and Bill Belsey's grade 5/6 class.
It will be a grand celebration with Order of Canada recipient Irene Pfeiffer presiding.
In his 40-year teaching career, Bill Belsey has arranged several citizenship ceremonies. It's a way to demonstrate his pride in being Canadian and to share an experience with students he believes they'll cherish.
"They're going to remember, you know, the smiles and the tears, the happy tears of the faces of people who became Canadians in front of their very eyes and the heartfelt thank you when they give a card or a gift to these new Canadians. Those are the things they're going to remember years from now."
"Citizenship isn't about just simply going and voting once every now and then. It's about being an active participant in society, and so I try really hard to give my students those experiences, whether it's planting trees or in this case, you know, hosting a live Canadian citizenship ceremony."
He says several students have been involved in every step of the preparations and will have roles to play that day.
"We're really hoping that the new Canadians will come away from this remembering it fondly because this is one of the most important decisions that they'll make in their entire lives, and we are so honored to play a small role in that. I want the new Canadians to be able to back on this and say that this was one of the most memorable days of their lives."
He expects it to be an emotion-filled event for all participants.
"It'll be a wonderful wonderful afternoon. I hope people will have tears of joy and lots of smiles and hugs and lots of warm feelings because they're about to embark on this very exciting but also very daunting new part of their lives. If we could be, if we can play a small part in helping them take a good step forward, then I think we'll have done our jobs."
It will be the second time the school has organized a large citizenship ceremony. Belsey has helped to organize several at other schools, including the Springbank Middle School.