The Re­mem­brance mes­sage

Teach­ers seek ways to put it all in per­spec­tive for stu­dents

Lethbridge Herald - - HOMETOWN NEWS ✦ COMMUNITY EVENTS - Craig Al­brecht

Re­mem­brance Day ap­pears on the cal­en­dar just once a year. Given the sig­nif­i­cance of the date — and the par­tic­u­lars of his au­di­ence — David Egert knows those mes­sages can’t be de­liv­ered on one day alone.

“It can def­i­nitely be a chal­lenge to have them un­der­stand the sig­nif­i­cance of what it means to go to war,” the County Cen­tral High School so­cial stud­ies teacher said of his stu­dents. “They may have read a book, seen a movie or heard about it, but they don’t un­der­stand the grav­ity of it all.”

Speak­ing af­ter the school’s Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­mony he helped or­ga­nize with fel­low teacher Ja­son Booker, Egert said it’s im­por­tant to put it all in con­text so stu­dents bet­ter un­der­stand why wars hap­pen and what they can do as cit­i­zens to pre­vent them from hap­pen­ing again.

“It’s hard be­cause we didn’t live in that time, and our gen­er­a­tion of­ten brushes it off be­cause we don’t know what it was like,” said Grade 12 stu­dent Ju­lia Rawleigh. “Talk­ing with peo­ple from the older gen­er­a­tion, you see what a dis­as­ter it was and how scary it re­ally was.”

Egert’s Grade 11 stu­dents look at na­tion­al­ism, and how a strong de­sire to ad­vance the needs of one na­tion can con­trib­ute to world wars. Glob­al­iza­tion and the fact one coun­try’s de­ci­sions can di­rectly af­fect oth­ers, brings home the im­por­tance of mak­ing wise de­ci­sions to avoid con­flicts and pre­vent wars.

In Grade 12, he teaches stu­dents that the be­liefs and val­ues they hold de­fines them as a per­son and de­fines the po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sions they will make.

“Choos­ing cor­rect or proper ide­ol­ogy that would serve the best in­ter­est in the world is im­por­tant to avoid some of those con­flicts as well,” said Egert. “I tell them, ‘es­tab­lish what you be­lieve. What is your per­sonal ide­ol­ogy, and how is it go­ing to shape your de­ci­sions as a voter?’ ”

The County Cen­tral High School Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­mony fea­tured video mes­sages, a colour guard and plac­ing of wreaths, per­for­mances from the school band, and poetry of both time­honoured ma­te­rial and orig­i­nal work.

Abi­gail Akitt re­cited her poem on the im­por­tance of re­mem­ber­ing those who sac­ri­ficed so much, while fel­low Grade 7 stu­dent Amy Hutchin­son wrote from the per­spec­tive of a sol­dier whose de­sire to return home lives on af­ter his death on the bat­tle­field.

The mes­sages were not lost on Grade 9 stu­dent Justin Ber­gen, who rec­og­nized those veter­ans not only made our coun­try what it is to­day, but also made Cana­di­ans who they are.

“It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber be­cause they lost their lives for us; they lost their fam­i­lies; they lost their friends. They sac­ri­ficed their whole lives just to fight for a cause,” said Ber­gen.

Prin­ci­pal Marty Leach noted the de­mands of a so­ci­ety which needs “ev­ery­thing right away” and a world which seems to be get­ting busier ev­ery day.

“One day a year we should stop and re­mem­ber why we have all these free­doms,” he told staff and stu­dents. “. . . We can slow down for a few minutes or, a day and the world will keep go­ing on and we are still hon­our­ing those peo­ple who have given us those free­doms and priv­i­leges we have to­day.”

Staff and stu­dents across Pal­liser Re­gional Schools marked Re­mem­brance Day with a va­ri­ety of ac­tiv­i­ties.

Photo sub­mit­ted by Pal­liser Re­gional Schools

Stu­dents (from left) Jaret Carn­duff, Tris­tan In­aba and Justin Ber­gen place their wreaths at the front of the as­sem­bly dur­ing a Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­mony at County Cen­tral High School.

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