Michael Buble

Mary McCarney

The gorgeous and classy Mrs Moore had quite an effect on the singer. But years later, it was the award-winning star who made her nervous

I loved my time at Seaforth Elementary in Burnaby, Canada, which was a school that parents fought to get their kids into. It was a wonderful, sheltered, cosy place with great teachers and a principal who knew everyone's name.

My 6th and 7th grade (the equivalent of Years 7 and 8) teacher was Mrs Moore, and I had a huge crush on her. She was a strikingly beautiful woman, about 30 at the time. She was an amazing person. At that age it had an effect on me, to see a woman who was so gorgeous but strong, too. She was quite reserved, very classy, and I'd do anything to give Mrs Moore an apple.

At Seaforth, it was noticeable that all the teachers really cared. I realised that I had people pushing me along, fostering me. But high school was a completely different world.

At Cariboo Hill Secondary School, I sometimes felt a little alone. I suppose I was an eccentric kid. I loved acting and music. I wasn't part of the hip crowd and I felt pressure to fit in. At times it was hard for me, but I enjoyed classes and I loved meeting girls. I also loved to sing and I'd often perform spontaneously in the cafeteria at lunchtime. I even delivered singing telegrams, to raise money for the school. When I think about it now, how embarrassing does that sound? But it was sweet and fun to do.

I was an average student - my attention span was pretty short. I didn't always feel challenged, and I would get bored easily. I enjoyed English and social studies, but I just couldn't understand maths.

Having said that, my favourite teacher was my 10th grade maths teacher, Mr Clarke. He started every class with a puzzle based on linear thinking. I wasn't very good, but I would always try hard and I sensed he was aware of that. He appreciated the amount of effort I put in. And he didn't fail me; I guess he realised that wouldn't send the right message to myself or others who were struggling. I missed Mr Clarke when he got sick and didn't come back to school. I was crushed. He was the only one who made maths fun.

My greatest teachers were my father and grandfather. They are extraordinary men who have achieved everything with integrity and honour. They taught me by their example and made me who I am. My grandfather also influenced me musically. We would sit for hours listening to music and arguing about who was the best singer or the best arranger. It was our common ground and I guess we bonded. Even today - he's 80 years old, I'm 32 - we're still best friends.

I keep in touch with my old elementary school and I like to help them out. I've become friends with the teachers, but the dynamics are strange now - I still see them as larger-than-life figures. I ran into Mrs Moore while I was at the school some months ago to present a cheque and she was visibly nervous when speaking to me. I couldn't get over it. I thought: "Please don't be nervous. I'm the one who should be nervous talking to you - you're Mrs Moore!" And, by the way, she's still beautiful.

Michael Buble is a critically acclaimed singer. He has just received a Grammy for his latest album, Call Me Irresponsible. He was talking to Mary McCarney.

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Mary McCarney

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