A chorus of Grade 3 students serenaded W.A. Day school students and staff last week with a new song.
The Grade 3s spent the morning of March 8 helping singer-songwriter Lowry Olafson write “We Can Make It Better.”
Olafson explained during the afternoon assembly the process started with the children suggesting words that represented life at W.A. Day school.
The students offered suggestions such as respect, caring, kindness, play, friendship and health.
The Grade 3s even suggested including lunch — an important part of the school day.
“We didn’t get that one in,” Olafson said with a laugh.
Olafson, who has released nine CDs, is no stranger to helping children write a song in just one day.
Olafson has helped more than 7,500 students in more than 300 elementary and high schools in western Canada co-write and sing songs they can call their own.
“I spend most of my life writing songs and playing songs for adults,” Olafson said. “I ‘m thrilled to travel around western Canada writing songs for kids.”
Olafson has written all manner of songs for and with children, including one about a dog eating a student’s homework.
“Sometimes the kids want to write a song to make a difference,” Olafson said of an experience at Enderby, B.C.
“It only takes one to make a difference,” Olafson sang. “It only takes one to change the world.”
Olafson draws inspiration from everywhere, including his own family.
During his performance Wednesday afternoon at W.A. Day school, Olafson told the story of visiting Shaunovan, Sask, where his father is from.
Olafson’s father taught briefly after finishing Normal School, but left that profession to go to university to become an engineer.
With that in mind, Olafson helped students write, “21 Ways to Bug a Teacher.”
“No teachers were harmed in the making of this song,” Olafson said with a laugh.
Once the W.A. Day school students had put together the list words, they concentrated on the song’s title.
“We had a bunch of different suggestions,” Olafson said.
Those suggestions included “A Friend to Lean On,” “Small Town,” “In a Small Community,” and “Learning Something New.”
“We had quite a few titles to choose from,” Olafson said.
Olafson and the Grade 3s settled on the title, “We Can Make It Better.”
The song includes references to caring, laughing, learning together, sharing, friendship, kindness and students holding the future in their hands.
“We Can Make It Better” also included “Oki,” the Blackfoot word for hello.
Olafson helped the Grade 3 students record their song on a CD and then led them in the debut performance for the rest of the students and staff.
After performing himself, Olafson engaged the Grade 3s in teaching the song to the rest of the students.
“We can make it better,” they sang in the chorus. “Caring for each other. We can make it better, in every way. Laugh and learn together, share with one another. We can make it better today.”