Archived—Recipient Bios

Archived Information

Archived information is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Year: 2001 – Province: Alberta

Certificate of Achievement Recipients

Marguerite Smyth Burns

School: Avalon Junior High School
5425-114 Street
Edmonton, Alberta  T6H 3M1

Principal: Mike Burke
School Telephone: 780-434-8402
School Fax: 780-435-7623
School Website:
Grades/Subjects Taught: Grades 7 to 9, instrumental music

Teaching Approach:

  • Every child who begins instrumental music in junior high school has a dream. My job is to help that dream come true. Nobody takes a music class and hopes to sound bad.
  • Enable students to understand the relationship between hard work and achievement.

Outstanding Achievements:

Runs a highly successful and popular music program with an extensive musical curriculum.

  • 44 percent of students at Avalon travel from out of district to attend the school's music program.
  • Students learn to play at least one instrument, while learning the principles of music performance, critical listening and making an aesthetic judgement.
  • They also learn to read and interpret music notation, learn basic music theory, explore music creation and develop their own creativity.
  • Despite the demanding work load, there is a very high retention rate through three years of the program.

Mrs. Burns also manages four extracurricular school bands, with almost all music students participating. This results in a busy and demanding practice schedule for students and teacher but an impressive list of awards for all bands and individual students.

Rave Reviews:

She instils into the children an enthusiasm for music making that is quite rare. Our own boy, who, Shakespearean fashion, is usually 'creeping like snail, unwillingly to school,' leaps out of bed to be at the 7:30 a.m. band practice. Parent

In class when we make a mistake she never makes us feel bad but has us try until we get it right. She is always positive and laughs a lot. Student

Mrs. Burns possesses the rare mix of competence, talent and genius necessary to run an outstanding junior high band program. . . . She quickly earns respect from an age group that cares little for authority; her bands develop quickly into ensembles with maturity well beyond their years. Former student, now enrolled in a bachelor of music course at the New England Conservatory of Music