Greenstone Public Library - Nakina

Hellen Mackie Memorial Branch

A Royal Email from the Queen

Nakina Public School had the honour of being the only school in the Commonwealth chosen to receive an e-mail message from the Queen.

On Thursday, March 6th 1997, students, teachers, guests and media gathered in the Nakina Public Library to await the e-mail from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth.

How Nakina Public School Was Chosen

In December 1996, Jean McHarg got a phone call from an FWTAO Executive Assistant, Joan Browning, that made her aware of this opportunity. The headmaster of Kingsbury High School in London, England, told Joan that Queen Elizabeth would be visiting his school to learn more about technology and to launch the Royal Website on the internet. He also mentioned that it might be possible for a school in the Commonwealth to exchange an e-mail with her Majesty.

Joan had been given Jean McHarg's name by someone in the provincial office who knew of her interest in computer technology. She called to ask if Jean knew of a school in the Northwestern WTA area that was internet-ready. Nakina was one of a small few that had computers fully operational with Internet access. Joan cautioned Jean that this was not to be made public until the notice from the palace was received that our school had been accepted.

Contact From Kingsbury High School

In February 1997, Sean Spurvey, a technical teacher at Kingsbury High School, contacted the principal of Nakina Public School, Mr. Jay Daiter. The name of our school had been given to him through his headmaster as the intended recipient of the royal e-mail on March 6th, 1997. Now it was time to make the event public! Final details for the big event were checked and rechecked to ensure everything possible had been done to be as prepared as possible to receive the message from the Queen and quickly send off a prepared reply. The day before the big event arrangements were made to fly a CTV crew up from Toronto the next day to cover the event for their station in conjunction with ABC in New York and BBC in London.

The Day

Thursday March 6th, dawned bright, clear and cold. Everything was ready and invited guests were requested to be settled in their places by 9:20 AM. The anticipated arrival for the email was set for 9:45 AM. At 10:05 AM, people had become very nervous for the e-mail that had not yet arrived. Jean place a call to Sean Spurvey at Kingsbury High School, who told her that the e-mail had just been dispatched. Jay Daiter's announcement, "E-MAIL HAS ARRIVED" brought a round of polite applause from the assembled group. After grade 7 student, Aaron Taphorn, read the e-mail, a grade 6 student, Kyle Madigan, had been choosen to send the reply to Her Majesty.

The Aftermath

The students and staff of Nakina Public School will long remember the event that took place on that memorable day. A binder of the entire event will be put together and included in a collection to be housed in the library so that it can be enjoyed by all students, citizens, and visitors for the years come.