A Unique Learning Environment
Margie Beaton started taking lessons at Nova Scotia’s Gaelic College when she was just four years old.
Years later, she keeps coming back.
“Though now I’m the Director of Marketing and in-house graphic designer,” she laughed. “However, it’s not unusual for me to pick up the fiddle and play tunes in a demonstration, dance in a lunchtime ceilidh, teach in an after-school program or help in general operations – there’s never a dull moment, and no two days are ever the same!”
Students of all ages from all over the world take part in the unique environment.
“It really is a place of all-around learning,” she continued, ”meaning that you don’t just learn in the classroom, you learn at all times of the day in numerous ways. The classes are top-notch, with true pillars of the culture chosen as instructors. You’re immersed in the way of life here, with live music often on the go, chances to get in on a square dance or ceilidh, time outside in our beautiful surroundings, access to historic displays and reference, all in warm Cape Breton hospitality. It’s fun!
It is also, she added, very rewarding.
“All the hard work pays off when you see the faces of excited students, happy to be here and so eager to learn.”
The College – which just celebrated its 75th year – is headquarters to The Cape Breton Fiddlers’ Association and the Celtic Colours International Festival as well, and enjoys a long-standing history with the local community.
“It seems synonymous with the area of St. Ann’s and the culture of the Island. From quite humble beginnings to the non-profit institute that it is today, the community has been key to that growth, and through the work of the Foundation, is still very much involved in the planning and future of the school.”
Beaton is excited about the initiatives now underway at the institution.
“With plans to offer more courses online and a continued relationship with Cape Breton University, we hope to extend opportunities to learn, at any time of year.
“And when you just keep coming back, it becomes as familiar as family.”