On the very first week of the 2004-2005 school year, Gongaza High School theatre arts teacher Jacinta Mackey Graham had the impulsive idea to pull an extremely shy Grade 10 student out of his science class.
She'd been desperately on the lookout for male singers for the school's chamber choir, and had been tipped off about a potential vocalist but was told "good luck" getting him to sing in a choir.
He'd sing along to the radio in the car, or maybe while hanging out with his friends, but absolutely never in public.
But Mackey Graham was persistent, and she asked him to sing anything, even O Canada, just to let her see what his voice sounded like.
When he opened his mouth and started to sing, she knew right away he had a gift.
"I remember saying 'Oh my God' and [his] reaction was 'See I told you I can't sing' and I said, 'No, oh my God, this is a beautiful voice.'"
The singer? Steve Maloney, now the winner of multiple MusicNL awards, star of a recent production of Rent, and arguably one of the province's most well-known contemporary songwriters.
Reunited at ArtsNL awardsNearly 14 years later, the two are being honoured at April's ArtsNL awards.