MONTREAL, NOVEMBER 12 2010 – Over the course of a two week period, the English Montreal School Board commemorated Remembrance Day across its youth sector.
On Tuesday, November 2:
- Grade 4 students from Dante Elementary, with the help of Secondary V Laurier Macdonald High School students, commemorated Remembrance Day. The students where witness to heartfelt testimonies of their lives and talked about the importance of spreading peace in the world. A special thank you Mr. andMrs. James Whitehall, Mr. Alex Hall, Mr. John Franken, Master Corporal Sébastien Bariland and Master Corporal Steve Busby. The same group also visited General Vanier.
On Wednesday, November 3:
- The entire staff and student body of LaurenHill Academy Junior campus in St. Laurent gathered to commemorate Remembrance Day in an honorable fashion. The ceremony began with Lance Corporal Jeff McCarthy of the Black Watch, who piped in the attending students and staff to the Agora. Mike Shaw, the Spiritual Community Animator, then proceeded to outline the consequences of war on all parties involved. Following his introduction, “In Flanders Fields” was read by vice-principal Frederic Boudreault and Grade 7 student Sara Rahajason. Honoring the different areas of the world and the different military units, students and staff laid 11 wreaths. The “Last Post” and “Reveille” were sounded to conclude the ceremony before Lance Corporal McCarthy played the final “Lament” as staff came forward to take baskets of poppies back to their classes in order to ensure that every student received one. As one final act of remembrance, two prayers from Ecclesiastes: “There is a Time for All Things Under Heaven” and “The Peace Prayer of St Francis” were read.
- Gardenview Elementary School hosted two assemblies where students heard from T. Garry Gould, a veteran of World War II. Both assemblies also included a PowerPoint presentation and concluded with a reading of “In Flanders Field.”
- Cycle 3 students at General Vanier Elementary School in St. Léonard paid tribute to 50 of the 152 Canadian soldier who have fallen in Afghanistan. CBC-The National televised the students, each holding framed pictures of these Canadian soldiers, while announcing the name and rank. “This experience sensitized our students to the bravery and perseverance which Canadian soldiers endure on a daily basis to obtain peace,” commented Principal Pina Rizzi.
- Elizabeth High School and Venture Alternative High School commemorated Remembrance Day with guest speaker Colonel B.J. Finestone, a World War II Canadian Armed Forces veteran, who recounted his experience as Battle Captain leading several tank detachments during the war. Colonel Finestone’s wisdom taught the students how terrible war can be, and how he will never forget his fallen soldiers.
- Vezina Alternative High School welcomed Sergeant Brideau and Corporal Thériault from the Royal 22nd Regiment in Valcartier. Sergeant Brideau gave the students a brief history of the wars, explained the symbolism of the poppy, as well as the importance to why we should stop and remember all the fallen soldiers. Corporal Thériault recounted his experiences on his three tours in Afghanistan. One student then got the opportunity to put on full combat gear. This gave students a new appreciation for what the soldiers have to endure in terms of carrying extra weight in extreme heat.
- Coronation and St-Gabriel Elementary held a Remembrance Day assembly led by Spiritual Animator, Veronica D’Agata. Several student helpers read poetry, reflections, and prayers - all with the important message to be peacemakers in their everyday lives. In addition, St-Gabriel Elementary had a special guest speaker, Roger Agnessi, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 127. He spoke to the students on how they have the power to help bring forth a more peaceful world through their own actions and contributions.
On Thursday, November 4:
- Sinclair Laird Elementary School in Park Extension hosted a very enlightening Remembrance Day assembly as World War II veteran Corrine Sevigny, the first female military member in the Canadian National Defense Forces, was the guest of honor. Some of the students were in disbelief since they assumed that there were only men in the military, however, Ms. Sevigny explained that she was part of WAC – the Women Army Core. Joining her for the assembly was her daughter, Ms. Montcalmy, a retired Superior Court judge. The students and staff were moved when Ms. Sevigny was bravely sharing her WWII story and in midst of her speech, she took a moment to wipe her tears. Some were teary eyed; having felt her pain from the war and from speaking out her experience as well as students learned that war involved a lot more than just the use of weapons. Ms. Sevigny also explained to the students that since WWII, and women being able to serve in the army, everything in society changed. The assembly ended with the singing of “O Canada”, which was led by four students and two minutes of silence.
- John Caboto Elementary School followed the format of the official ceremony in Ottawa for their commemoration. The assembly featured a guest speaker from the armed forces, the reading of poetry which highlighted the sacredness of life and concluded with two minutes of silence.
On Friday, November 5:
- Mountainview in Cote St. Luc marked the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II and the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Navy with veterans and current Canadian Forces members. They were accompanied by a Bagpiper and a military band. Students and staff also contributed a “V for Victory and torch” which was used in the John Paul I High School ceremony.
- LaurenHill Academy Senior campus hosted Sergeant Real Baril of the Canadian Armed Forces and a member of the Black Watch for their assembly. Students laid wreaths and watched a PowerPoint presentation honouring the more than 120 Canadian Armed Forces personnel who have been killed in action in Afghanistan, listened to the “Last Post” and held a two minute silence for the fallen.
On Monday, November 8:
- Edward Murphy Elementary School hosted veterans and current Canadian Forces members along with a Bagpiper and a military band.
- Lester B. Pearson High School hosted three separate assemblies which featured guest speakers from the Canadian military.
- St. Dorothy Elementary School in Cartierville followed the format of the official ceremony in Ottawa for their commemoration. The assembly featured a guest speaker from the armed forces, the reading of poetry which highlighted the sacredness of life and concluded with two minutes of silence.
On Tuesday, November 9:
- East Hill School hosted veterans and current Canadian Forces members along with a Bagpiper and a military band.
- Royal Vale School commemorated Remembrance Day by having invited guest Sergeant Bruce Castonguay speak on the importance of the day while closing words and thoughts were offered by Principal Chantal Martin.
- Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School in Rosemount followed the format of the official ceremony in Ottawa for their commemoration. The assembly featured a guest speaker from the armed forces, the reading of poetry which highlighted the sacredness of life and concluded with two minutes of silence.
- St. Monica Elementary School in N.D.G. hosted veterans and current Canadian Forces members along with a Bagpiper and a military band.
- Nesbitt Elementary school in Rosemount hosted a ceremony which featured Jean Pierre Issolée, a Major in Air Force logistics and a former military advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations. Johnston, who served Canada bravely in the Korean War and in Africa, taught children the seriousness of war as well as that the definition of a hero is not simply an individual who sacrifices for his country, but any person who does his duty as a human being such as their teachers and parents.
On Wednesday, November 10:
- John Paul I High School in St. Léard hosted an assembly from to mark the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II as well as the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Navy. Spiritual Community Animator Rocco Speranza led the ceremony which featured many honored guests, including the federal Minister of Veterans Affairs, Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Navy Lieutenant Commander Jeff Biddiscomb, Regional Director Marzia Michelli, as well as veterans, current Canadian Forces members, a Bagpiper and a military band. The ceremony included many poetry readings and reflections as well as was followed by a youth forum in which Minister Blackburn and students had discussion on the importance of Remembrance Day and what students could do throughout the year to support the armed forces.
- Laurier Macdonald High School in St. Léonard hosted a day-long event in conjunction with Bialik High School in Côte St. Luc. The brought students from both schools together in order to spend time with Holocaust Survivors, Canadian Veterans and Canadian Peacekeepers. Over the course of multiple sessions, the students engaged in intimate, candid conversations with the invited guests and learned about their experiences and memories from various wars and the Holocaust. A formal ceremony was also held which featured student presentations, the singing of “O Canada” by Sara and Jessica Taddeo, as well as the Bialik High School choir who preformed memorial songs in Yiddish.
- Leonardo Da Vinci Academy in Rivière des Prairies hosted veterans and current Canadian Forces members along with a Bagpiper and a military band.
- John F. Kennedy High School in St. Michel followed the format of the official ceremony in Ottawa for their commemoration. The assembly featured a guest speaker from the armed forces, the reading of poetry which highlighted the sacredness of life and concluded with two minutes of silence.
- Carlyle Elementary School in Town of Mount Royal hosted Navy Lieutenant Patrick Cameron who gave a presentation to the students about the Navy as well as the importance of Remembrance Day. In his presentation, Lieutenant Cameron explained his role and duties while at sea as well as took multiple questions from the ever so curious children. Following his talk, students read poetry and stood for two minutes of silence.
- Roslyn Elementary School held an assembly where students commemorated Remembrance Day through the reading of poems and singing of songs. Additionally, students and staff walked in concert to the cenotaph where they placed a wreath and sung O Canada.
On Thursday, November 11:
- John F. Kennedy High School and John Caboto Elementary School in St. Michel, St. Dorothy School in Cartierville, Pierre Elliott Trudeau School and Rosemount High School in Rosemount, James Lyng High School in Verdun, LaurenHill Academy in St. Laurent, John Paul I High School in St. Leonard, Bancroft Elementary in the Plateau, Carlyle School in Town of Mount Royal, Sinclair Laird Elementary School in Park Extension and Edward Murphy School in the East End all be participated in the Remembrance Day Parade, organized by the Black Watch Royal Highland Regiment of Canada. Students received a lesson in protocol before the march and had the opportunity to speak to the veterans about the importance of Veterans Week and Remembrance Day. All the staff and students in attendance felt so very proud to be Canadian, and will undoubtedly remember the sacrifices our soldiers have made and continue to make every day in order for Canadians to live in peace and freedom.
- Royal West Academy in Montreal West held three separate ceremonies which included a flag party, honour band, readers, guest speakers and a choir.
- Westmount High School held their annual Remembrance Day Ceremony with Petty Officer First Class Karen Goral serving as the keynote speaker. She shared her experiences of serving aboard HMCS Donnacona. In attendance were graduates of Westmount High who were friends of some of the fallen soldiers from previous wars. A total of 199 students and graduates of Westmount High were killed in World War I and II, one of the highest totals of any school in Canada.
- Bancroft Elementary School in the Plateau was fortunate to have an extended family of veterans, both young and old to commemorate Remembrance Day. Retiree Captain Robert Latraille Sr., a 45 year veteran and his son, Corporal Robert Latraille Jr. along with their close friend Captain Chris Rose, all representing the Royal 22nd Airborne Regiment were on hand. They carried out a flawless autobiographical presentation which included their military experiences and the lessons they learned. The veterans underscored the importance freedom and that citizens sometimes take it for granted. On a more somber note, Corporal Latraille Jr. also shared the permanent effects that the war had on him as he still suffers from trauma. Throughout the event, Spiritual Animator Ms. Choy said that the students’ eyes were peeled open and their ears perked up, truly absorbing the lessons and words of the distinguished guests. The Latraille family has served in the military beginning with their grandfather in WWI, the father in WWII, and two out of three sons continue the tradition today.
On Friday, November 12:
- Gerald McShane Elementary School in Montreal North hosted veterans and current Canadian Forces members along with a Bagpiper and a military band.