Students show off web site to Microsoft president

Three Ontario students had the chance to meet one of the biggest names in the computer world and show him a web page that they had designed

Bill Gates, the president of Microsoft, came to Toronto on October 15 to take part in the launch of the SchoolNet GrassRoots National Campaign and announce that Microsoft would be a founding partner in the project.

GrassRoots encourages K-12 teachers and students to develop on-line learning projects in the classroom. The new funding will allow about 5 million students across Canada will take part in 20,000 new projects.

A group of Grade 6 students from Thomas Street Public School in Mississauga, Ontario were in Toronto to showcase a web page on Ancient Civilizations that they had developed with their teacher, Darren Price, when they were students at Middlebury Public School the year before.

Patrick Kennedy, Sharon Choy and Alexandra Terpoy display their webpage to Bill Gates, president of Microsoft, John Manley, Canada's Industry minister and other officials at the event.

 Meanwhile, students from Ronald Harvey Elementary School in St. Albert, Alberta and Marcellin-Champagnat, Iberville, Quebec joined the events by satellite to showcase their hi-tech projects.

Bill Gates told the crowd that education "is the single most important use of technology". He noted that "GrassRoots is a great example of how to help educators use technology to enable more dynamic interaction with students, parents and the connected community."

Here, the students from Thomas Street share their thoughts on "A Day with Bill Gates".

By Patrick Henderson,
Thomas Street Public School
Mississauga, Ontario

On Thursday, October 15th 1998, I went into Toronto to meet Bill Gates. I was excited, nervous and scared all at the same time. I tried not to think about it hoping these feelings would go away.

I went with two other students from Thomas Street Public School. They were in my class last year, when Mr. Price was our teacher. I wondered if they felt the same way.

We went downtown to the Crown Plaza Hotel in Mr. Price's car.

When we got to the hotel we went to the front desk and they told us where we had to go. We were greeted by a person from the SchoolNet Grassroots program and she told us what we were to do. We did a couple of practices and then we heard them practicing with the microphones. I was wondering when Mr. Gates was going to arrive. The television station, CTV, interviewed us. I was still very nervous.

Lunchtime came and I didn't like anything that they had to offer. All of the sandwiches had vegetables on them and so I wouldn't eat them. A lady who was helping us took me to the store and I bought some Crunch and Munch for lunch.

We returned to the room and watched a video of a class from Quebec. They spoke in French, so I didn't understand them. Finally, Bill Gates showed up and they led us to a door where they wired everyone to a microphone. We went into the room and sat at a table, where we would show our web site.

After some speeches, we were introduced and we gave our presentation one by one to Mr. Gates and the crowd. I got really nervous, but I stayed calm. After the presentations the questions started.

A lot of lights were flashing in my face because of all the cameras and there were many bright lights. It was cool!

When Mr. Gates left the reporters had lots of questions for us again. I got to shake hands with Mr. Gates. My mother was hoping we might get a personal computer or something, but instead I got a handshake and a T-shirt. It was still cool!

That night we spent the evening watching the news reports to see if I made the television. I did!

I had fun that day and when people talk about Bill Gates, I will be able to say "I met that guy!"


By Sharon Choy
Thomas Street Public School
Mississauga, Ontario

The day we went to the Crown Plaza Hotel was very exciting. When we got there, there were a few camera stands set up.

Beth and Joanne, the two people that helped to put the event together and came to our school, showed us where to sit and where Bill Gates, Minister Manley, and Simon Witts were going to sit. We had a practice run a few times, and before I knew it, it was lunch.

After lunch, Bill Gates, Minister Manley and Simon Witts met us and said hello. We shook hands and then went in for the press conference. Before we went on, the three gentlemen said some words.

When it was our turn, Mr. Gates and the other gentlemen came and stood behind where we were demonstrating our web site. There was a swarm of video cameras, photographers and reporters from the newspapers. Alex, Patrick and I just showed what we had done on the project. When I was showing my part of the project, I wasn't as nervous as giving a speech in front of my classmates.

The funny thing was when I told the reporters that Egyptian food was mainly, barley, bread and beer, everybody laughed and somebody said, "Some things never change!"

Overall, everything was very exciting, meeting Bill Gates and being on the media. I had a great time, but I was glad when it was all over.


By Alexandra Terpoy
Thomas Street Public School
Mississauga, Ontario

It was very exciting to hear I was going to meet Bill Gates. Bill Gates? The name sounded familiar. I had heard it somewhere before. But where? After I remembered that he was the creator of Microsoft and a computer genius, I couldn't wait to meet him.

The best part of the day was meeting him backstage. He was very interested in what I had to say and made me feel important, especially when he was watching me demonstrate our web site.

I was very proud of myself when my family, friends and neighbours, and even my dentist, said they had seen me on T.V. next to Bill Gates.

This was an experience I will never forget. I have cut out some of the articles from the newspaper to help me remember this special event.


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