On 3 May 2017, eight Marc Garneau students went to the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema to see Bill Nye. The eight students are a part of Marc Garneau’s Eco-Team, and they attended the Hot Docs Film Festival to view a documentary about Bill Nye’s life outside of his TV persona, Bill Nye the Science Guy and how Bill’s career has progressed since the show ended. In addition to viewing the film, students also participated in a question and answer session.

Speakers answering student questions at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema. Photo: Jasmine Zhu.

In total, approximately six hundred twenty students from all over Toronto came to the event which was from 10 am to 1 pm. The documentary highlighted Bill Nye’s experience as a scientist and educator, and his work as a CEO of the Planetary Society. During his talk, Bill Nye elaborated on how he currently spends his time challenging science-deniers and creationists like Kevin Ham, and those who don’t believe in climate change, like meteorologist Joe Bastardi. Many students enjoyed his anecdote about what inspired him to be a scientist. He was fascinated by how his mother would use ammonia to treat bee stings, and this led towards him taking an interest in the sciences.

When asked about her experience at the Hot Docs Film Festival, Parnika Godkindhi, a Grade 12 student at Marc Garneau, said, “I enjoyed the documentary, but I was disappointed that a lot of the audience members were pretty young, and this led to a lot of irrelevant questions being asked during the question and answer session.” Tazik Shahjahan, a Grade 10 student, added, “I think it was a great experience. Although I personally hardly know Bill Nye, there was a lot of enthusiasm from the audience and I got caught up in the wave as well. Although the question and answer session could have been better, I’d say it was a worthwhile experience.” All participants agreed that his advocacy for climate change and science education was important, and his work has inspired a generation of future scientists.