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To Rob Barg, President of YAMAHA Canada,

On behalf of all of the students and staff in our SASS club, we would like to THANK YOU for your
absolutely amazing and "perfectly timed" gift!!  We have been borrowing a keyboard from a friend
for when we have our assemblies, Talent shows, musicals, concerts and SASS practices.  The
keyboard we had before was very limited and not working 100 % of the time, so this was a
miracle!!!   Our students were thrilled beyond comprehension when they sang and earned the first
prize in the Elementary Group category.  We had an awesome time writing this song with the help
of Dale Russell, Devontée, Jim Parker, and many of the students related first-hand to the meaning
and words of our song, "Just Smile"!!!
We are a small group, yet we have seen their confidence grow and blossom in the last few years.  
Winning Saturday night at the concert certainly gave them all a huge boost of confidence and
integrity.  Thank you again for your generous gift!!!  We are using the keyboard today for the first
time at our "Volunteer Celebration" in our school this afternoon.  Our choir, SASS group and a
recorder choir is performing and I am able to accompany them on our keyboard!!! We look forward
to sending some pictures to you of how we are using this for the development of our SASS group
as well as enhancing our schools programs!!!

Sincerely, Ms. Sullivan, Mrs. Kirkpatrick, Mr. Oldfield, Mr. Carl , Katie, Rueben, Callie, Taylor,
Katrina and Melissa (June, 2012)

 Thank you for all you do with SASS.  I was amazed again at the developing talent, confidence and
community that has grown because of SASS.   On a personal note, Artemis, one of your daughters
was so gracious to one of our performers who was sick.  She told our student not to worry, "we're
just here to love and support you."  I really appreciated her caring spirit. -
Rhonda Kirkpatrick

Greetings SASS,

I just wanted to give an extended thank-you to the many inspiring people that make SASS
possible. It is such an amazing group and the way it gives kids a chance to express themselves is
just simply unmatched by other groups. A special thank you to Artemis and Dale for recording my
song with me and always being there for me whether it be as a mentor or just a friend. Im sure I
speak for everyone when I say that the amount of time and hours you put in to changing kids lives
is inspiring. Such great leaders, and Artemis, I can already see that your daughters are the same
woman you are. An independent, courageous and intelligent leader. I loved working with them
backstage, and before I went on Isabelle was so supportive and encouraging. Also to all the judges
at the Gala, your warmhearted words in the judging sheets touched my heart. Thank you. To
Darlene Voogt for providing such a cozy environment at all the recitals and events, and baking
amazing food for the performers. To Kaitlyn Zarzour and Evan Moore for being such inspiring
executives and all around people. I apologize, but I cannot name everyone of you kind people.  
I still have the widened grin on my face just thinking about the Gala last night. I had so much fun
seeing the astounding talent and performances that shared the stage. I hope to maybe one day be
a judge, although as usual, it will probably be a hard choice. SASS seems to have more and more
amazing talent every day. Everyone that performed last night was amazing, and don't let anyone
else tell you different.
Special Thanks to Peter Lafferty at Roland for providing the various prizes, and to Peter Patrick
for the metronomes! Still figuring out all the controls haha! I am grateful to have these new items,
because I know it will help me bring my ideas further and more efficiently!
Thanks again to Everyone!  Sincerely-
Eric Benns (BluePrint) 2012

Dear Mr. Patrick,

    With all the gratitude I can find in my oh so tiny heart, I, on the behalf of the entire SASS
family, thank you for your tremendous contribution to this association. We are able to grow and
push forward through the help from powerful, yet caring and father-like hands such as yours.
Without you, without other lights beaming in the hearts of men like yourself, none of this would be
 Also, I also want to thank you for the Marshall Combo Amplifier that you graced me with.
I must admit that this is my first amplifier and it came in good time as well. In a few weeks i
should be getting my first electric guitar and this has cut down the pressure that would have been
upon me.
 Once again, thank you for being you, for being apart of this dream now a reality. I send you all
the love the SASS family has to offer because I know that it will be in good hands.

Yours sincerely, Stephen Stoddart

Good afternoon Artemis and Dale,

Just wanted to forward my congratulations for a wonderful evening on Saturday. Thank you to both
of you for your hard work and commitment to this amazing program. You are changing young
lives!   Please include me in, for next year on your 10th anniversary...
Kim Zeppieri, Whitby Trustee, Durham District School Board

Dear Mr. Lafferty,

 Thank you so much for donating the Boss BR-80 Digital Recorder to the SASS Gala.   The students
of our club, and Stouffville District Secondary School in general, were thrilled to receive it as a
prize for "Best Group-Written Song."
The work that S.A.S.S. (School Alliance of Student-Songwriters) does is unique and invaluable, and
as teacher-advisors we've been honoured to get to know Artemis Chartier, Dale Russell and all the
other mentors over the past few years.  It's a very worthy cause to support.
At our school, the club brings together students from all grades, backgrounds and ability level.  
Our philosophy is "it's all good."  It certainly is!  
The digital recorder will be great in capturing those magical moments that would otherwise get
lost.   It's always been a struggle for us to make demos.  
Thank you again for this very generous donation.  It will be put to good use!
Rob Butters and Jack Hammond Stouffville District Secondary School Teacher-Advisors, SASS Club

Dear Mr. Patrick,

 Thank you so much for donating the Hagstrom guitar to the SASS Gala.   The students of our
club, and Stouffville District Secondary School in general, were thrilled to receive it as a prize for
"Best Group-Written Song."  It is a beautiful instrument, and sounds great.

The guitar (and case!) are beautiful, and will solve a constant problem we have:  not everyone has
a guitar, and those who do can't always bring them to school.  The Hagstrom will be very inviting
for the many guitar players who come out to our meetings.   

Thank you again for this very generous donation.  It will be put to good use!
Rob Butters and Jack Hammond Stouffville District Secondary School Teacher-Advisors, SASS Club

Dear Mr. Patrick and Mr. Lafferty,

 Thank you for donating the Hagstrom guitar and digital recorder to the SASS gala.
The guitar be a good thing for the songwriter club at the school and thanks for the micrometro, it
will help me a lot with my timing.  Yours truly,
Leif Johnson

Dear Mr. Lafferty & Mr. Patrick,

 Thank you for donating the Hagstrom guitar to the SASS Gala.  We as students were thrilled to
receive it as a prize and at this moment are enjoying the beautiful instrument.
I, unfortunately, was not able to attend the gala, but the work the S.A.S.S. does in our school and
schools across the region is invaluable and wondrous.  I’ve been honoured to meet and work with
the mentors that come to our school to help us write “Endless Blue” and win the prize for “Best
Group-Written Song.”
I look forward to using both the tuner and the guitar, as I am predominately a lyricist ...  
Thank you again,
Colleen Tamblyn

Dear Mr. Lafferty and Mr. Patrick

 I cannot thank you enough for the marvelous prizes!  The songwriters club here at SDSS will
continue to enjoy them for many years to come.  You can imagine our delight upon hearing that we
won the prize for “Best Group-Written Song” with the help of our mentors.  SASS has only
benefited our lives here at SDSS as well as I’m sure at the many schools across the region and I
hope it will continue to do so for the remainder of my years here. I look forward to using both the
metronome and the guitar and hopefully participating in the gala again in years to come.
Again, thank you so much!
Lara Mackie

 Thank you very much for all the gifts you gave us and for a wonderful night.  I’m afraid I wasn’t
able to attend as I had another recital on the same night, but my friends told me it was
spectacular.  I will make great use of the tuner; I have two guitars but have never had a tuner
before so thank you.  Yours thankfully,
Julian Norris

I can't say enough about the experience, Art. Your SASS program has inspired me for sure.
Ray Gauvin, Sound technician at the 2012 Gala

..Sincerest congratulations for the amazing Gala earlier.  Abigail had enjoyed it immensely as well
as we as parents.   Thanks again for all the efforts from you and the SASS family. It had been a
wonderful experience.
 Angelika, Ron, and Abigail Simard

My students really enjoyed their SASS experience this year.  Thank you for all that you have done
for them
.  Lucy Grzegorczyk

 I want to say congrats to the well deserved winners of the contest, thanks to all the students who
give time and talent to making this event- and most importantly, this group- work so well. Thanks to
our mentors, our leaders, our teachers and our families for providing everything from inspiration to car
pool! Thank you to my Co-President, Evan Moore, for working so hard and sharing the load. The last
year was a full one in so many ways, but worthwhile. I have enjoyed serving as your Youth Executive
President and wish you all a happy summer full of music and lyrics that inspire you to new heights.
To Dale and up, 2012-2013 is bound to be bigger and better-
Kaitlyn Zarzour

 I just wanted to give a big shout out to all you folks that were present at the ninth annual SASS
Gala last night! It was an amazing evening of great music, great people, and great atmosphere.
Thanks to all who made my own performance, along with the performances of others, possible.
We've definitely got a tough time on our hands in trying to top it next year!
 I would also just like to say what a tremendous honour it's been to be your SASS youth executive
co-president over the past year, along with Kaitlyn. It's been a wild ride full of exciting times! Of
course, we'll both still be around to give performances and spend time enjoying all of the coming
year's SASS events. Let's make year 10 the best one yet!  
- Evan Moore

  To our prize sponsors, putting together this appreciation page is only a part of my thanks to you.
We appreciate your giving to the youth of this program in such meaningful ways year after year.
   I have also spent a few hours sending individual thank you notes to the students, teachers, and
parents involved in the SASS Gala and main events this year, so I hope you each know how
personally grateful Dale and I feel towards you.  To those who have responded that you don't even
need thanks, we are doubly-moved.  You say that you encourage our children in any way you can
because it's the right thing to do.  How true that is.   It is only as we join forces that we can offer the
emerging generation these wonderful opportunities for self-expression and growth.  
  Many of the students leaders who have, in recent years, been invited to positions of leadership,
came to us already possessed of countless strengths.   It is a miracle to us how mature and
generous you have been in sharing your inspiration with your peers.  We are born naively egocentric,
and it usually takes a lifetime to realize that we are all part of one human family, and that others are
just as important as ourselves.
 Finally, to Scott, Wayne, Shanaz, Mark, and the rest of the fabulous Rogers Cable 10 TV Crew,
 It was such a great pleasure to work with all of you  at the SASS Live Song Contest Finals shoot.  I
was amazed at the collective man-hours you have already invested in giving the deserving kids in our
songwriting program community recognition, and I know that the editing process involved even more
time and equal skill.  I was impressed with all of your genuine interest in people, your tireless good
humour even after hours of shouldering heavy cameras or making thousands of lightning-fast
decisions, your organization in making contact several times and working out most details well in
advance, and your extreme courtesy in dealing with all of us.  We are huge believers in community-
building, and am moved that the great visionaries selected to represent Rogers in the field seem to
share the same positive goals.  Local TV can bring isolated people together into one proud, caring,
close-knit circle.  I can't say enough about the value your service brings to our Durham cities.  Once
again, on behalf of Dale Russell, the SASS Team, and myself, allow me to tell you what an honour
and a joy it was to work with the talented and generous crew of Rogers Cable 10.  -

Note:  The last update of this appreciation-page was June 24, 2012.  If you have anything to add,
please write

Previous SASS Gala Comments:

"Best Gala, yet!"  Catherine Axford  (2010)

"I had a great time at the Gala last night.  Thanks for all you've done."   - Chantal Rouette

"We send many thanks to SASS and its supporters for the fabulous opportunies that have been
available to us through your organization,-not the least of which was the Gala and contest! We
always learn so much from watching and listening to other performers and SASS members and it
was wonderful to gather and celebrate each of our successes at the 2010 Gala. Many thanks to all
the volunteers who helped make the night happen! Thanks also to the judges and the sponsors!  
We were thrilled with the outcome!"  --
Colin and Kaitlyn Zarzour

"What an evening, the competitors were absolutely incredible, and how the judges came
up with a winner beats me, they were all winners.  The way they expressed themselves,
and in so many different ways and formats, was absolutely mind bending.  You must be
feeling particularly proud of everyone....I doubt if many realize the amount of hard work
you both put in, the organization, the decorations, the setting up of the auditorium, the
assembly of the various acts, getting the judges, co-opting all the volunteer workers, and
a complete myriad of other little things that no one ever sees.    The Gala Girls deserve
accolades also with their cookies, cakes, drinks, the opening dance, and all the hard work
that went into making the evening so successful.  So, in conclusion, thank you for a
wonderful evening; I am sure that you have had a lot of praise coming in, and very
deservedly so, but ... WOW is just about the only real way I can express myself."  --

"I had an amazing time! Love to all of you guys."  --Donny Anderson.

Thanks so much Dale and Artemis, it was really my great pleasure to be there.  I think
SASS often does more for me than I do for it; it's such a reminder as to what I love about
songwriting and the creative impulse. I was blown away, as always
-- Peter Katz

It was really great to see both of you again - I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and the
time with the Terry Fox group
--Carrie-Lynn DeMaeyer

"Loved  how comfortable all the kids were with being on stage at the Gala. Most managed
a fine degree of style and a dash of swagger in their performances, which made the
evening so entertaining.  Enjoyed  the gang from Sir Samuel Steele who bantered with
the emcees.... and would love to have heard more from Cody Veal.  The Groves family
sounded so tight, and Chantal was stunning.    Kudos to everyone for  all the hours that
made for such a joyful night."
--Bev Connors.

Text of Kendra Godin-Svoboda's 2010 Speech on Building
Safer Communities:

Good evening.  Thank-you to everyone for coming out and supporting our students tonight.  Thank-you
to all of the students - 500 who started in the fall - parents, staff and our incredible artists and
volunteers who give so generously of their time and talents; who make this program so enjoyable for
kids and so meaningful for the entire community.

We are delighted that you chose the theme of Bullying Prevention this year; it is relevant and critical
for all of our students.  The impact of bullying on all students - the child who causes the harm; the
child harmed; and the children who witness the harm - is multifaceted and complicated.  Bullying is a
relationship problem; it requires a relationship solution.  

To this end, we aim to help all students and school community members find a peaceful way to work
and learn together - to care deeply, think critically, see clearly, act wisely.  Our message to everyone

We care about each other.
We respect each other.
We see each other.
We support each other.

Heart, head, eyes, hands.  Together, we can make a difference.  If we can sing about bullying, we can
talk about bullying; open the doors to having courageous conversations and build bridges for safe and
caring schools, communities and a better world.  

Thank-you and good luck to all of the artists tonight.