Musician Ray Leonard played the fiddle for the students of Roosevelt Elementary School as part of a new Spotlight Series.

STORY AND VIDEO: Spotlight series

The latest initiative for teaching young minds is presenting knowledge from community members in what's called the Spotlight Series



The latest initiative for teaching young minds is presenting knowledge from community members in what is being called the Spotlight Series.

The first of the series was launched on Nov. 23 at Roosevelt Elementary School with Ray Leonard, a multifaceted musician and retired teacher.

The school district’s teacher-librarian, Kate Lyon, spearheaded the presentation to encourage new ways for the students to connect with inspirational members of the community.

“I’ve been working on developing a program whereby community members come into the library and ‘show their stuff.’  Again, trying to build those relationships within the community and provide opportunities for students (and staff) to ask questions and network with people from various backgrounds/disciplines,” she said.

Lyon first met Leonard when he was her Grade 11 chemistry teacher. They became friends when she helped him learn how to play the flute — just one of the many musical instruments that he says he dabbles with.

“I love playing music and I have tried various different musical instruments to see what I like best. I love discovering and trying new things. I feel that you can learn as long as you live,” Leonard said.

He picked up a guitar when he was 13-years-old and he continues exploring other musical instruments.

A few years ago he picked up the fiddle and has had lot of fun. Even though he says he’s not ready for a public performance yet, he gave the student as sample.

Four classes from kindergarten to Grade 3 sat wide-eyed in front of Leonard, and would involuntarily tap or shake to each of the instruments he played for them: flute, guitar, fiddle, penny whistle and a bouzouki, a Greek guitar.

“It’s an opportunity for the staff and students to meet outside community members. It brings the community together and allows the kids to learn in a different way,” Lyon said.

The initial Spotlight Series was geared toward Canada Music Week. Lyon promises more to come in the new year.