A semester like no other has ended on a high note for a University of Brandon School of Music professor and her students.
As Dr. Gretta Sayers was wrapping up another of her online, remote classes with her students this week, she got a surprise that left her in tears.
All of her students turned on their cameras at the same time, and each held up a sign with a message thanking her for the extra work she’s put in this school year.
“When I hear it again my eyes are welling up, I just experience it again and I just feel all that love and the heartfelt warmth and all the lovely sentiment — it just hits me again and I feel another wave of love,” Sayers told 680 CJOB after listening to video of the gesture that’s since been watched thousands of times online.
The effort was organized by one Sayers’ students, who emailed her classmates with the idea before the class started.
And it wasn’t just Sayers who was moved by how it all turned out.
Alexandra Smail, a voice major in music education at Brandon University, took Sayer’s class this semester and says none of the students knew beforehand exactly what the moment would look like.
“None of us realized that all 31 of our classmates were going to turn on their camera and show their face for the first time really since the beginning of the semester,” Smail said Thursday.
“So we were all just kind of taken aback and shocked and heart-warmed by her reaction.”
“We thought it was perfect for her because she does so much for us and we wanted to do at least something small for her.”
Sayers admits it hasn’t been easy conducting a music class — and keeping it engaging for her students — online, but says by staying flexible and always being ready to adapt, the exceptional semester worked out well.
“It’s taken a lot of extra work and a lot of extra planning, but the results, as shown there by that wonderful video, (show) that we can be successful,” she said.
While they’re making the best of the situation brought on by the pandemic, Sayers says she and her students are all looking forward to the day when they can be back together.
In the meantime, Sayers says her students’ gesture of gratitude has given her a memory she’ll cherish for the rest of her life.
“It’s these little things that make such a big difference,” she said.
“It took a few minutes — it wasn’t a lot of time out of their day — but it’s something I will cherish and hold with me forever.”
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