Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily we reflect upon them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me-Immanuel Kant.
So March has come and gone and we have now entered the homeward stretch of 2013-2014. “Spring” is upon us and as the weather “warms” we look forward to June and the conclusion of another successful school year.
Even with the interruption of the break, March was a very busy month in the department. On the 6th we welcomed a very special guest to the school. Max Eisen now calls Toronto home, but the 85 year old was born in Hungary. In the spring of 1944 Eisen and his entire family were rounded up by the Nazis and sent to the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp where most of them perished. Surviving the horrors of the Holocaust, Eisen was liberated in 1945 and now travels North America speaking about his experiences to young people. We were very honoured by his visit and kudos go out to Ms. Caza for her efforts in making this happen.
Under the direction of Ms. Hallarn and Ms. Bernardi, our Grade 9 geography students paid a visit to Fort William Historical Park on the 18th and 20th for some “hands on” learning. The day began with a GPS activity, where students were required to locate several geocaches hidden inside the palisades. Afterwards, everyone moved inside for some lessons on Ethnobotany, which emphasized the relationship between First Nations people and plants such as sweet grass and leaves.
The March break was very memorable for the 22 students and 3 teachers involved in the Canada’s Battlefields excursion to Europe. The excitement began even before we boarded the plane, as the local media showed up to get our reactions to the trip. The online article and the TV news segment really helped to publicize the trip to the community. The students did a great job speaking about the purpose of our journey.
It was the trip of a lifetime for many and the weather cooperated as well, with temperatures pushing near or over 20C on several days. The journey was a mix of fun and excitement, coupled with moments of remembrance and reflection. Places such as Amsterdam, Normandy and Paris offered opportunities for the students to experience the culture of Europe. Anne Frank House and the Jewish Museum were windows into the tragedy of the Holocaust. Visits to the battlefields of Ypres, the Somme, Vimy Ridge, Dieppe and Juno Beach allowed us to see firsthand the places were our soldiers fought bravely in the name of freedom; at the cemeteries we paid tribute to the sacrifices of many young Canadians.
Preliminary planning has already begun to participate in the 100th Anniversary celebrations of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in 2017. For more information and photos of the Battlefields Tour, please read our previous posts. You can also see some of the video from the trip here.