MONTREAL, NOVEMBER 15, 2004— Students at the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) held commemorations for Remembrance Day. Programming was coordinated by the team of spiritual and community animators.
At the central head office, a Nov. 11 ceremony featured the FACE School Young Singers Senior Chorale. Cadets from the 803 North Shore Sabre Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets placed a wreath.
St. Pius X High School in Ahuntsic, Carlyle Elementary School in TMR and St. Patrick Elementary School on the Plateau heard from Veteran Douglas Sample. Born and raised in the Plateau, he showed several souvenirs, one of which was a model of the plane he flew in. He spoke about his dreams of being a pilot, but the Forces selected him to be an Air Gunner. Mr. Sample was the president of the Air Force Museum in Montreal. At. Carlyle, students from various classes performed poetry and songs, some of which were written by the students and the teachers themselves. The content of the performances promoted peace, tolerance and understanding. At St. Patrick’s, students recited Flander’s Fields in a choral style. Finally, at St. Pius, Mr. Sample showed his large spectacle to Secondary V students. Global TV used this visit as part of a news story. Mr. Sample later joined Principal Frank DiPaolo for lunch at the Culinary Institute.
On November 10. Holy Cross Elementary School in St. Laurent held a Peace and Remembrance Day immediately after recess. Mr. Shand spoke about his experience as a soldier and the importance of honouring present and past soldiers. "My goal is that this ceremony was to give the students the opportunity to pay tribute to Mr. Sample and all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf," says animator Mary Poullas. Students were asked to visit a display table, which included WWII memorabilia. Mr. Sample also visited Carlyle Elementary School in TMR.
On Nov. 11, the students at Royal West Academy in Montreal West held their third Peace and Remembrance Ceremony. This year’s event, says Spiritual Community Animator Joseph Monachino, paid particular tribute to the Canadian Navy. Special guest speaker was Commander Lorne Flavelle. The ceremony included prayers and poems of peace and hope, as well as music by the Royal West Honour Band. "This ceremony was a source of strength and empowerment for all those who attended and enabled the students to understand that they can be instrumental in effecting change," said Mr. Monachino.
Veterans visited Royal Vale in N.D.G., Edinburgh and Elizabeth Ballantyne in Montreal West and John Grant in Côte Saint-Luc. At Royal Vale, Sgt. Donald Dezi (Black Watch Regiment) spoke to students about Canada's peacekeeping missions. He himself had just recently returned from a peacekeeping tour in Afghanistan. At Edinburgh, (Ret) Brigadier-General Robert Feldstein spoke to students about his experience in the Normandy invasion (D-Day). At Elizabeth Ballantyne Don West (Ret) spoke to students about his experience in the "Battle of the Atlantic 1943-1945,) where he was stationed on a warship that hunted German u-boats (submarines). At John Grant, Frank Stanway (Ret) spoke to students about his involvement in the "Italian Campaign" when he landed in Sicily in 1945.
IBO Secondary V students of Laurier Macdonald High School in St. Léonard and Spiritual Community Animator Vince Lacroce honoured two veterans and two Holocaust survivors in their Remembrance Day ceremonies Nov. 9. It was an opportunity to commemorate the ordinary people who did extraordinary things when their country called upon them. "This was a day where the students of Laurier Macdonald saw both sides of the story; the victims of war and the heroes who fought to protect them" said Mr. Lacroce. George Mann, a veteran from the Canadian Armed Forces, and Alec Hall, a British Naval veteran officer from the Memory Project, spoke about their lives during the war and the obstacles they had to overcome during their time overseas. Ernest Eurhmann and hs wife Holocaust survivors from World War ,II spoke to the students about their lives in concentration camps and what they did to survive the horrors of war. "When I talk about Canada, I talk about freedom, and how precious freedom is to my wife and I," said Mr. Eurhmann. "I would like to thank the brave men and women like our veterans here today who helped liberate us. I am eternally grateful to them and to God."
This year, the students of Dante Elementary School in St. Léonard participated in a Remembrance Day Poster Contest. The winning three student posters were placed in the school for all to see. They also got to accompany Vince Lacroce to a ceremony at Royal West Academy. On Nov. 3, Cycle 3 students had the honour and privilege to meet George Mann and Alec Hall
Mr. Mann and Mr. Hall also spoke to the students at Dalkeith Elementary School in Anjou. Student council members prepared poems, stories, and songs to our invited guests.
Services were held at St. Brendan Elementary School in Montreal North Nov. 11. Services also took place Nov. 10 at Vincent Massey Collegiate and St. Raphael School.
Marymount Academy held a Remembrance Day service on Nov. 11. Spiritual Community Animator Cheryl Smith-Debanne invited Allan Raymond, a World War II veteran, to speak to the students about his experience in the Air Force. Mr. Raymond, a historian, talked to over 100 students gathered in the library for this service. He emphasized the need to remember as well as the need to pray for peace in our world. The Marymount Academy Choir sang O Canada and the students participated in the poems and prayers that were part of the program.
On Nov. 10, students at Gerald McShane Elementary School in Montreal North heard from Navy Petty Officer First Class Karin Goral from Donna Cona and her daughter Isabelle Goral. Ms. Karin Goral's words about Canada’s peacekeeping forces were very inspiring and focused on peace.
On Nov. 2, the Cycle 3 students of Dante Elementary School in St. Léonard had the privilege of meeting two Veterans from the Royal Canadian Legion. Alec Hall, a British Naval Veteran, and George Mann, a Canadian Army Veteran, spoke about the importance of Remembrance Day. They brought along many memorabilia from WWII.
Maria Kelly reports that the four schools under her watch – Our Lady of Pompei in Ahuntsic, Honore Mercier and Pierre-de-Coubertin St. Léonard and Frederick Banting in Montreal North – took part in Celebrations of Peace and Remembrance. Ms. Kelly included a modern video called A Pittance of Time as well as the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ that was written nearly 90 years ago. "I feel very strongly about this celebration," she says. "Our young people have to remember that sacrifices were made, and are still being made, so that we can have peace in our country. I tell them that freedom is not free, and we all have to work at being peace-makers and peace-keepers. Last Monday, I called a gentleman who had been supplying me with poppies, and I found out that he had died since I last spoke with him on October 19. Another veteran gone. That is why it is so important that we, spiritual community animators, continue their cause, and that we sensitize the students."
Captain Geoffrey Knowles and Staff Sargent Walsh (WWII Navy). were the guest speakers for Remembrance Day ceremonies at LaurenHill Academy in St. Laurent. Grade 10 student Linda Nuygen sang "O Canada".
At James Lyng High School members of the Legion Post 129 Ville Emard were present with information and poppies Nov. 4.
At McLearon Elementary School in Point aux Trembles, Patricia Crichton, District Commander for the Royal Canadian Legion Hochelaga District 7, came to speak to all students. She presented two 30 minute workshops. Members of the Canadian Armed Forces were present at McLearon, East Hill in RDP (Nov. 9), Gerald McShane in Montreal North (Nov. 10) and John Paul I Junior High School in St. Léonard several days after Remembrance Day. "The students from these schools wrote messages of peace, love and thanks on over 1,000 peace doves which were delivered to Veteran’s Hospital in Ste. Anne de Bellevue," says animator Rocco Speranza.
Paul VI High School in Montreal North, which caters to special needs students, three veterans spoke about their experiences. Among those was Commander Crichton, who has been visiting Paul VI since 1992.
F.A.C.E., Gardenview, Parkdale, and MIND had programming which featured veterans come to speak to the students. There was the laying of five wreaths to commemorate the deaths of those over the five continents, reports Community Spiritual Animator Mike Shaw.
At Sinclair Laird Elementary School in Park Extension, there were two assemblies. The formal assembly for the school was with Veteran Owen Rowe, who was also a boxing champion in Alberta and currently works as an editor for The Community Contact. He displayed several photo albums of his time during World War II. Students of Amalia Bombakos also performed a touching skit called "Why Wear A Poppy"? After the assembly, classes of Grades 5 and 6 received 87 year old Veteran Oscar Costin and his wife, who spoke more about the variety of the veteran’s experience as there were more than the infantry unit. Mr. Costin belonged to the lands operation unit and helped in landing planes during D-Day.
Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213