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Janice and CJ

“He lives now in the music": Alumna Janice Moore supports the Faculty of Music in honour of her son CJ

Janice Moore’s (BA ’90) proudest moments with her son CJ came not when he was recognized for his accomplishments – though he had many – but when others noticed the many ways he helped other people.

“He was one of those people who was just good to everybody,” says Moore. “When people came up to me – especially the parent of a child in his class or friend group – and told me how wonderful he was, how much he helped their child, that’s when I really felt so proud of him.”

Colton James (who always went as CJ, or more commonly “Ceej”) died tragically at the age of 24 in a drowning incident in August of 2018. An exceptional student, passionate musician, actor and national diving champion, CJ was entering his final year of Bio-medical Engineering at the University of Waterloo (a degree he was awarded post-humously) and was considering a graduate degree at Laurier in the Faculty of Education: he felt called to be a teacher and spend his life helping and inspiring others.

“CJ just loved everything and threw himself into everything he did,” says Moore.

Creating a legacy

Grieving CJ’s passing is a journey for Moore, and an important part of that journey has been ensuring that CJ’s legacy will live on in ways that make a meaningful difference.

“It’s important to me to do something that matters, that will impact other people, in CJ’s name,” says Moore. “He would have touched so many lives with his kindness and his outreach. I want to continue that impact.”

The Moore family decided to set up an award at each of the schools CJ attended, as well as at Laurier, where CJ was planning to go. Moore, CJ’s father and CJ’s sister are also all Laurier alumni, making Laurier a natural place to give back. The CJ Moore Memorial Scholarship is specifically designated for students who help their peers, and make a positive impact in the world, as CJ did. Students are also selected from five different disciplines – Science, Arts, Music, Education and Social Work – to represent CJ’s wide range of passions.

Moore has met the first recipients of this award, and those from the other schools CJ attended. She is moved by how they remind her of her son – engaged in leadership and outreach in their communities, many of them high level athletes like him.

“It really feels so good to help these students in a small monetary way to reach their goals of helping others,” she says.

Making Space for Music

When Moore heard about the Making Space for Music campaign, she says, “it felt right to give.”

“When you lose a child, you become more connected to heaven, to the afterlife,” says Moore. “An intuitive man, who had never met CJ or knew anything about him, told me ‘Your son now lives in the music.’ I took that as a sign, I wanted to help other people to find their music.

“I can still hear my son communicating with me through music, and I believe he is still listening to it. Music brings life and joy. I want his legacy to bring that music and that joy to others.”

Moore has made a gift to name a practice space in the new Savvas Chamberlain Music Building after CJ, so that generations of Laurier music students can continue to feel the positive impact of his giving nature.

“From the beginning to end, no matter what CJ was doing, he was also making and sharing music. It feels so good to give in his name to create a space for others to do the same.”

Janice welcomes the Laurier community to view The order of the Phoenix- in Memory of and Always Missing you CJ on Facebook to learn more about CJ and his life.

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