You can count Claire Campbell’s students at John Mahood PS in Elmira among those taking “lest we forget” to heart this Remembrance Day.
“I had all of my students, all 125 of them, working really hard on their Remembrance Day posters for the Royal Canadian Legion,” said Campbell, who teaches French to students in Grades 3-6.
All of the posters will be turned over to the Elmira branch of the Legion, which operates a nationwide contest organized by region. The contests are divided into four categories: senior (Grades 10, 11, 12), intermediate (Grades 7, 8, 9), junior (Grades 4, 5, 6) and primary (Grades 1, 2, 3 – poster contest only). The poster contest is divided into two categories: colour and black and white. The literary contest is divided into two categories: essay and poem. Entries are submitted at the branch level and winning entries proceed to the provincial and then national level.
It’s been a great way to teach kids about history and the significance of November 11, said Campbell.
“We had a pretty solid discussion about World War I and World War II, soldiers and veterans. And then we talked about some symbols in Canada, we talked about poppies and we talked about crosses, and fighting and wars. So there’s been some pretty incredible teaching moments,” she said.
Given the decades since the last large-scale war, most of the kids aren’t as connected to the history through parents and grandparents as was the case with previous generations of students, she added.
“What I’m trying to do is to bridge that gap, to try to reinforce how lucky we are to have our freedom.”
Richard Clausi, who’s been spearheading the contest for the Elmira Branch 469 of the Legion, started reaching out to schools earlier than usual this year due to the pandemic: kids weren’t in their classrooms as they’d usually be to hear about the contests. The response has been good, he notes.
“I am genuinely enthused with the response to my email and phone calls to schools. I have already received one eager and early entry, and I have been assured by several schools that there are many more coming,” he said in an email.
“All entries need to be in to the Legion by 4 p.m. on November 12. We will be marking them on November 15, with four teams, one per contest, marking all of those contest-specific school entries to determine the first-, second- and third-place finishers in each category.”
There is a minimum score required to receive the top recognition medals. Each marking table will select the entries to be submitted to the next levels (zone, provincial, national) from their respective first-place entries, he explained.