Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Latest-April 2014

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.

Max Eisen, March 2014.

Max Eisen, March 2014.

 

Max with , March 2014.

Max with Jaclyn and Denise, March 2014.

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.

GPS activities, March 2014.

GPS activities, March 2014.

Hunting for geocaches, March 2014.

Hunting for geocaches, March 2014.

Group shot, March 2014.

Group shot, March 2014.

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.

 

St. Ignatius and St. Patrick pray at the Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery, March 2014.

St. Ignatius and St. Patrick pray at the Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery, March 2014.

On the steps of the Vimy Memorial, March 2014.

On the steps of the Vimy Memorial, March 2014.

In front of the Eiffel Tower, March 2014.

In front of the Eiffel Tower, March 2014.

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.

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Europe 2014: Reflections

Poverty, Agony, Distress & Want!

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
Benjamin Franklin

I’m not sure if Benjamin Franklin actually said these words, or if it’s just one of those internet knock-offs, but whoever said it knew what they were talking about. This very much sums up the essence of the entire trip; history is real and tangible and it is through “hands” on experiences that we come to truly understand how these events shape our lives.

So I had pretty much all of this blog done during the flights home from Europe, but unfortunately I lost it all. Too bad…from what I remember it was pretty good! Anyway, this is my attempt to replicate all those thoughts I had put down while in the moment. Hopefully I do it justice.

It’s been roughly a week and a half since we returned from Europe…I can’t believe…

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Europe 2014 Day 9

Poverty, Agony, Distress & Want!

If you read the Day 8 post, you know why this is delayed.

Day nine, our last day in Europe 😦 Man, the time has just flown by. I guess as they say that’s what happens when you’re having fun right? We’ll have to make the most of today and enjoy every moment.

So the internet (or as they say here the “wefe”) is still down, so I still cannot post yesterday’s blog. Hopefully it will be working by the time we return today so I can catch up and everyone knows we’re still alive. It’s amazing how we come to depend on it…first world problems right?

Anyway, we will be leaving the hotel at just after 8:00 so we can start a sightseeing tour of Paris. Should be interesting and give us a good sense of the city (well, maybe the kids since I’ve seen it before). Not quite…

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Europe 2014 Day 8

Poverty, Agony, Distress & Want!

My apologies in the delay posting this. The wifi at the hotel was terrible, so I was unable to post this two days ago.

Day eight kids. Sadly we are down to our last few days of the trip. I can’t believe how quickly things have flown by! We’ll have to make the best of our remaining time and savour every memory.

So we’re on our way to Crepon for some Norman culture with a tasting of local juice and sweet breads. I never done something like this so it should be interesting. We will be greeted by the mayor of the village, so it’s almost like we’re VIP’s.

Back on the bus now heading toward Paris, which is about 4 or so hours away. We had a great morning of exploring French culture. In Crepon, we were met by the local mayor who took us on a tour of…

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Europe 2014 Day 7

Poverty, Agony, Distress & Want!

Day 7 is calm and very foggy. Daylight gives us a much better impression of the chateau and its grounds…stunning! I would definitely come back here if given the opportunity. Before breakfast I had a chance to walk around a bit and it was very beautiful with the fog, trees and the small waterfall. I’m interested to see what it is like when the fog lifts. We are really in the heart of Normandy and it is so pretty and idilic here.

So we are about to leave for the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, which is literally five minutes away. We are so close to the beaches it is amazing. This should be a great day of remembering, exploring and discovery.

We’re back on the bus now, making our way past Arromanches toward the American cemetery behind Omaha beach. Beny was probably the most touching yet, mostly because we had…

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Europe 2014 Day 6

Poverty, Agony, Distress & Want!

Good morning Day six! We’re on the bus waiting to leave for Vimy. There is a bit of fog this morning, but mind you it is before 8am and maybe it hasn’t had a chance to burn off. Our journey should take us about an hour and a half. Can’t wait to get there!

So it’s hard to believe that we’ve already arrived at the halfway point of the tour already. Where does time go? It has been an awesome time so far, and there is so much more yet to come. Today is the transition from the WWI part of the tour (Ypres, Arras, Somme and Vimy) to the WWII part (Dieppe and Normandy). Many of the places we will visit are a contrast between tragedy and triumph, the proud moments in our history and the darkest days. In the end we will commemorate it all, and remember those…

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Europe 2014 Day 5

Poverty, Agony, Distress & Want!

Day five is bright and sunny. It is supposed to be very warm again today, with highs around 17C. I am very tired this morning, but that is a long story. I’m looking forward to today’s journey, especially since we’re going to a few places that I’m not as familiar with.

Rolling on the bus now, on our way to Thelus. Once again we are travelling through the countryside and it is really neat to see this part of the country. It’s supposed to take about an hour and a half to get to our destination, so I can relax and enjoy the view.

So we stopped at a neat little memorial, called the Zivy Crater Memorial, which is a crater that was turned into a memorial to the Canadian artillery. It was neat to see this very interesting memorial, especially the design of it. Even better, the stop provided…

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Europe 2014 Day 4

Poverty, Agony, Distress & Want!

Hello Day four! I had a decent night’s sleep (I felt tired this morning, even though I got at least 7 hours…must have been all the walking) and had a good breakfast. I’m sitting here in the hotel lobby waiting for the kids to come down with all their gear and board the bus. We will be leaving for Bergen at 9:30. After two days of walking, it will be nice to sit for a bit on the bus.

So we’re on the bus on our way to the Bergen cemetery. It is very neat to be driving through the countryside and see a side of the country that you never would. Lots of flat land (the Low Countries, duh) and farms. The aroma of the air really tells you where you are.

Bergen-op-Zoom will be the first cemetery that we visit. It should be very interesting to see their…

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Europe 2014 Day 3

Poverty, Agony, Distress & Want!

Alright, day three. After a pretty decent night of sleep, I am ready to go (I was out like a light at 10). Hopefully the kids are ready too, and that they got some sleep under their belts. It’s bright and sunny this morning, and the high is expected to get up to 14…and there’s no snow!

Wow, what a busy but exciting day. I’m sitting on a bench outside the Anne Frank House freezing my butt on the cold marble as I write this. I’m waiting for everyone to exit the building; we’re supposed to be done by 8:30, but it seems as though they will be a bit longer.

So our day started early, but not too early. Everyone got some rest and were very ready to go in the morning. The hotel had a nice buffet for breakfast with all kinds of meats, bread, cheeses, eggs, yogurt…

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Europe 2014 Day 2

Poverty, Agony, Distress & Want!

It’s day two kids! Thanks to the wonderful miracle of air travel, coupled with a few hours of back-wrenching contorted “sleep,” it is now Friday. My body still thinks it’s 10:30, but according to my watch it’s 4:30…can’t wait for the jet lag to set in. Not sure how the kids are doing it. Of the ones that I can see from my seat, only a few have attempted some sleep. Oh to be young and have energy!

So we’re nearly across the Atlantic; the in-flight map is showing us just about to pass over Ireland. I’ve been scanning the ground below us for signs of land, but I haven’t seen any yet. Twenty more miles apparently.

With less than two hours of flying time remaining, I would imagine that they will be bringing “breakfast” soon. Oops, I spoke too soon…cue the flight attendants! I wonder what’s for breakfast?

The next…

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