MONTREAL, NOVEMBER 12, 2003- On Tuesday, November 11, the students of the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) participated in a wide range of Remembrance Day activities, in commemoration of the 1.5 million Canadians who served their country in both World Wars and the Korean War, in which more than 100,000 of them gave their lives.
Here is a listing of how some of the EMSB schools observed Remembrance Day:
A group of students from John Paul I Junior High School in St. Léonard spent Remembrance Day in Ottawa. The group departed from the school at 6:30 a.m., and was greeted by Massimo Pacetti, the Member of Parliament for St. Leonard-St.Michel, before they left. Once in Ottawa, they attended the Remembrance Day ceremonies at the National War Memorial, where they laid a wreath on behalf of the school. From there, the students met with the Honorable Dr. Rey D. Pagtakhan, the Minister of Veterans’ Affairs, at the Chateau Laurier Hotel. This was followed by a visit to the Canadian War Museum on Sussex Drive.
Laurier Macdonald High School in St. Léonard held traditional Remembrance Day celebrations on Nov. 11, with a moment of silence, followed by a recitation of John McCrae’s poem "In Flanders Fields" and a speech by the school administration. On Wednesday, November 12, Robbie Robertson, First Officer of the Quebec Command of the Royal Canadian Legion, appeared at the school throughout the day. He spoke to students in a series of 75-minute sessions. A veteran peacekeeper in Cyprus, Mr. Robertson is also a holder of the Nobel Peace Prize medal, which was awarded to the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces in 1988.
General Vanier Elementary School in St. Léonard observed Remembrance Day with the traditional moment of silence and a reading of "In Flanders Fields" over the school intercom.
Royal West Academy in Montreal West held three separate assemblies on November 11, which featured prayers, poetry readings, a performance by the school’s Honour Band and a speech by Major Jean-Guy Blouin, who is the Deputy Director of Air Operations for the Easter Cadets Support Unit.
East Hill Elementary School in RDP and Gerald McShane Elementary School in Montreal North held Remembrance Day programs for their Cycle 2 and Cycle 3 students. Both programs featured a dramatic presentation, an explanation about the significance of the poppy, a reading of "In Flanders Fields" and a biography about its author John McCrae, plus a minute of silence and the singing of "O Canada."
Wagar High School in Côte St. Luc showcased a Remembrance Day display that featured poems written by several of the students. There was also the customary two minutes of silence, followed by a recitation over the school intercom of "In Flanders Fields" and an article that was published last year in "The Gazette" about the significance of Remembrance Day.
John Grant High School in Côte St. Luc played "The Last Post" over the school intercom, followed by a brief address by Principal James McMorran.
Royal Vale High School in NDG held a Remembrance Day service under the theme "Peace through Forgiveness."
St. Raphael School in Ahuntsic distributed poppies to every student, and each classroom held their own Remembrance Day observances.
St. Ignatius of Loyola Elementary School in NDG used Remembrance Day as a means to sensitize their students about the destructive powers of racism and intolerance, and how they can be overcome. A survivor of the Nazi Holocaust visited the school on Nov. 11 to talk to the Grade 6 students about his childhood in Eastern Europe and his experiences in the concentration camps. The visit was planned in conjunction with the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre.
Students at Dalkeith Elementary School in Ville d’Anjou heard a speech delivered by Korean War veteran and former POW John Franken on October 31. They also constructed their own Remembrance Day wreath, which was displayed in the main hall of the school. The wreath was decorated with paper poppies, each one of which contains a student’s name and a word that best reflected Remembrance Day. In addition, the students made a second paper poppy, which they wore, that had their name and a name of a family member who served in the armed forces during World War I, World War II or Korea. The Remembrance Day wreath project was also done at Dante Elementary School in St. Léonard.
Parkdale Elementary School in St. Laurent started their Remembrance Day commemorations on November 4, with the traditional minute of silence, laying of a wreath and reading of "In Flanders Fields," along with a talk given by Brig. General Robert Feldstein. It continued on November 11, with a mass distribution of poppies to all the students. There also was an assembly, which featured a reading of poems written by the students, the lighting of five peace candles, a presentation of a video about war, two minutes of silence, and a reflection on the contribution and involvement of Black Canadians during the wars.
Like Parkdale, Gardenview School in St. Laurent also started their Remembrance Day activities on November 4 with a traditional ceremony, and was highlighted with a speech delivered by Trooper Oscar Kostin, who participated in the D-Day landings in Normandy on June 6, 1944. A second assembly took place on November 11, with the content of the program similar to Parkdale’s, but with a reflection by a war orphan from England.
The senior and junior campus of LaurenHill Academy in St. Laurent held a combined Remembrance Day memorial service over the intercom on Nov. 11, with a moment of silence, a recitation of "In Flanders Fields" and a performance of a musical selection by the school band. Also, World War II veteran Douglas Sample spoke to the students at the Junior Campus.
*Holy Cross Elementary School in St. Laurent held a student assembly on Wed. Nov. 12 with armed forces veteran Oscar Kostin as the guest speaker.
Rosemount High School’s student ambassadors sold poppies that were provided by Local 29 of the Royal Canadian Legion. Also, a number of the classes participated in a special Remembrance Day presentation throughout the week, which was put together by the school’s spiritual community animator, in conjunction with some of the history, religion and MRE teachers. The presentation included a music video entitled "Remembrance Day," which was composed, written and performed by Canadian rock star Bryan Adams. On November 11, the school observed the traditional two minutes of silence, followed by a live performance of "The Last Post" on trumpets by 11 students from the school’s music program, which was heard over the intercom. An additional minute of silence and a reading of "In Flanders Fields" by two members of the student council rounded out the observances.
Students at Vincent Massey Collegiate in Rosemount sold poppies during lunchtime in the week leading up to Remembrance Day. There was also a historical display, which featured war pictures, memorabilia and flags, in the school’s front hall. On November 11, a Remembrance Day ceremony took place, which included a two-minute period of silence, readings of the poems "In Flanders Fields" and "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream", a prayer for peace and a performance of the musical composition "The Last Post".
Edward Murphy Elementary School in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve distributed poppies to its students. On Mon. November 10, a war veteran spoke to the Cycle 3 students, which was arranged by the school in conjunction with the Dominion Institute’s Memory Project. The project allows Canadian war and peacekeeping veterans to visit schools and share their experiences with the students. In turn, the students are encouraged to post their impressions and reactions to the presentations on a web site, creating a digital archive of living history.
James Lyng High School in St. Henri also participated in a program that was organized in association with the Memory Project. Korean War veteran and former POW John Franken spoke to the school’s Canadian History class last week. Born in Indonesia, Mr. Franken was captured by the Japanese while being evacuated to Australia. When the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki in August of 1945, Mr. Franken was underneath the city, working as a slave laborer in the Mutsui coal mines.
St. Brendan Elementary School in Rosemount held a Remembrance Day assembly on November 7, where a list of names was read aloud of all the students’ relatives who served in the Canadian armed forces. Two veterans were also present to recount their wartime experiences.
Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213