The first Remembrance Day was observed over a century ago in 1919, a year after the First World War ended, and schools in Drumheller and surrounding area are making sure the importance of observing Remembrance Day is not lost on students.
Along with special Remembrance Day assemblies, some schools are also engaging students with various in-class lessons and activities focused on Remembrance Day.
Greentree School students have been learning in-class about Remembrance Day over the last few weeks, Grade 2 students are learning about the roles previous generations played during the Second World War, while Grade 6 students are learning about the Highway of Heroes in Ontario, and researching significant Canadians involved in the war.
Students are also working on art projects for The Royal Canadian Legion’s Remembrance contest, which will be displayed during the Remembrance Day assembly. Principal Shelley Friesen shares students will recite poems and sing songs during the assembly, with some younger students pinning poppies on a cross. Members of the Drumheller Royal Canadian Legion Branch 22 will also attend as guest speakers.
Drumheller Valley Secondary School (DVSS) students will also have artwork displayed, recite spoken word pieces, and lay wreaths during their own Remembrance Day commemoration, and student members of the local Sea Cadets will also play a role throughout the day’s activities. The ceremony was held virtually in 2020 and 2021, and a “documentary-like” ceremonies put together by students and teachers were shared to the school’s YouTube channel; the focus of the 2020 ceremony was on the end of the First World War in 1918 and also touched upon the Spanish Flu, while the 2021 ceremony focused on Canada and the Korean War.
DVSS teacher Peter Bjel adds he has shared various stories during commemoration ceremonies in previous years-how the local agriculture community played a vital role during World War II, stories of soldiers returning home to nearby communities following the Korean War, and the unveiling of Drumheller’s cenotaph in 1936 “when war clouds were looming once again over Europe.” He says, with the ongoing conflict in the Ukraine, this year’s Remembrance Day is “notably poignant.”
Morrin School Principal Don Yavis says students have been holding in-class discussions about the meaning behind Remembrance Day and working on art projects which will be displayed in the school’s gymnasium during their assembly. Students will sing songs and recite poems during the assembly, and Grade 12 students will also read the names of area soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice from a roll call. Mr. Yavis notes the public is welcome to attend the assembly and members of the Morrin Royal Canadian Legion Branch 67 and Royal Purple will also be in attendance.
Delia School held its Remembrance Day assembly on Friday, November 4. Principal Ryan Duckworth shares the responsibility of organizing and planning the ceremony is given to a different class every year, traditionally a senior high class. This year the responsibility was given to junior high social studies teacher Blair Raugust and Grade 9 students, and Mr. Duckworth says it was a “very thoughtful program.” Elementary students from Grade 1 to 6 performed songs, while Grade 9 students carried the flags, recited spoken word pieces, and marked the Last Post.