The Montreal Gazette
Monday, March 29, 2004
U.S.-born student Laura Elfman, 14, was booed at her school recently during a parade of flags event, but managed to keep her composure and said she was 'proud' to hold her flag.
MONTREAL - High school student Laura Elfman, 14, says she learned a few things about standing up for herself and for her country after she was booed last year and this year when she appeared onstage with the American banner during her school's parade of flags.
"Don't let people mess around" with you, the U.S.-born Grade 8 student said, looking confident and determined as she responded to questions yesterday.
The dark-haired, hazel-eyed basketball enthusiast knows of what she speaks. Laura, who holds dual Canadian and American citizenship -- her mother grew up in Quebec -- was jeered when she carried the U.S. flag last year, to the point of tears.
The hecklers last year were apparently protesting against the war in Iraq.
Laura, who doesn't follow politics, acknowledged that she ran off the stage in tears.
But this year, she says, "I stood up for myself."
"I said, 'Hi, my name is Laura,' and when people were booing, I was talking over them (into the microphone), and I said, "and I'm very, very proud to be holding the United States of America flag,' " she said.
This year at the event a little over a week ago, only a handful of kids booed, she said. Meanwhile, other students supported her, calling out "Yea Laura!" and shouting to the hecklers to stop being rude.
Wagar High School Principal Michael Cristofaro apologized last week to Laura on behalf of the student body.