Vimy 2017 Day 8

Poverty, Agony, Distress & Want!

Day 8 Les Enfants. Even though I am still tired and could have stayed in bed a whole lot longer, I am not a complete zombie and have some vague human semblance. Since we roll out at later time today, maybe that extra hour of sleep helped. Who knows. In any case, I feel better. Maybe it’s because with a better wifi connection, I was able to FaceTime my family last night. As much fun as we’re having gallivanting around Northern Europe, I do miss them.

Okay, we’re on the bus now, making our way to Juno Beach. The whole group was enchanted with the town of Honfleur. What a gorgeous place! It’s almost so picturesque and idyllic that it you can mistake it for fake; Ms. Caza thinks it’s a place you could fall in love in. We walked along the harbourfront to St. Catherine’s Church, which had such…

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Vimy 2017 Day 7

Poverty, Agony, Distress & Want!

Day 7 boys and girls. Yes, I’m a little more awake today, but barely. I still feel like I’ve been run over by a dump truck, but at least I got some sleep. The key is to be so comatose that you blackout the moment your head hits the pillow; I’m not sure if that is good or bad. We’ll see how tonight goes for a full scientific assessment.

Okay, we’re on the bus, heading toward Normandy. It’s another beautiful morning and it should be a relatively nice in the Calvados region. This is the point where, for the most part, we switch emphasis on the tour. So far we have been visiting sites associated with World War I, but today and tomorrow we will be focussing on World War II. We also see more of the French countryside, and Normandy is a particularly scenic place.

So after two hours…

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Vimy 2017 Day 6

Poverty, Agony, Distress & Want!

Day 6 everyone. Yep, no smart@ss remarks this morning. Tired. Very tired. Too tired to think of clever adjectives or metaphors to describe the tired. I feel, and probably look, like an extra from the walking dead. Why you ask? I think I was still feeling the effects from yesterday’s ordeal in the sun, which has left me with nice burns around my neck (from the camera strap) and right behind my knees (the direct result of going in shorts yesterday). My roommate, who shall remain nameless, can also rouse said undead from miles away with their snoring. Oops, sorry, almost fell asleep trying to write the next sentence.

Alright, so we’re now on the bus toward Albert and rendezvous with the Basilica for mass. It’s about an hour away, so it gives me some time to reflect on our day yesterday. After sleeping on it, I still feel that…

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Vimy 2017 Day 5

Poverty, Agony, Distress & Want!

Ugh. Day 5 children. I feel like a bag of poop; I know, wonderful analogy first thing in the morning Dave. It is what it is though. I fell asleep quick and slept well, but all those nights without sleep have caught up to me. Maybe it’s fitting that today is the April 9th, the day we go to Vimy and commemorate the 100th anniversary of one of the most important military (and otherwise) events in our country’s short history. I’m sure all of the those men were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as they crouched in those trenches. I guess I shouldn’t complain too much.

I was up at 0500, but I didn’t go to bed until almost 0030. The wifi at this hotel is not very good, and I had to spend a lot of time fiddling around with their blog, trying to upload pictures and getting them inserted into…

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Vimy 2017 Day 4

Poverty, Agony, Distress & Want!

Oy vey. It’s a sleepy morning today kids. I did not have a very good sleep last night. I’m not sure how much sleep I actually got, but it wasn’t much. I really feel like I’m running on fumes. In any case, I’m a big boy, so I’ll have to suck it up and get in my rear in gear. Today we’re leaving our hotel and heading first to Anne Frank House for a short visit. I’ll check in again once we’re back on the bus.

Amsterdam selfies, April 2017.

Amsterdam canal, April 2017.

Okay, so we’re back on the bus. A visit to the Anne Frank House is something one does not easily forget. It certainly puts a real human face on the price of conflict and in particular hatred. All of the kids are familiar with the story of Anne Frank and they were all very quiet as…

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Vimy 2017 Day 3

Poverty, Agony, Distress & Want!

Good morning! It’s Day 3 kids. I’m sitting in the lobby waiting for 0845, which will be our departure time to head into Amsterdam. I had a fairly decent sleep last night, having gone to bed shortly after checking on the kids at 2200. The breakfast buffet was great and now I’m ready to roll on our adventures for today. Hopefully all of the kids will be ready on time.

So we’re here near the centre of Amsterdam waiting for our tour guide to show up. We were a bit late getting here, which was due to a road closure that affected the bus arriving at our hotel. Our guide this morning is Larae, who will be showing us some of the notable points of this beautiful city.

Alright, so we’re back on the bus after a busy day. Larae was a great guide, taking us around parts of the…

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Vimy 2017 Day 2

Poverty, Agony, Distress & Want!

Hey, hey kids! Sorry, I had to get a Krusty the Clown reference in there. Anywho, it’s Day 2! Thanks to the miracle of modern air travel and Sir Sandford Fleming all those years ago, it’s the next day. So I’m running on about 4 hours sleep, which means I have no idea how coherent my thoughts are, but whatever. I don’t get paid to write this.

Anyway, it’s 0700 local time, we’re just off the coast of Norway and 1100km from our destination. We certainly took a very adventurous route, not the usual more direct one. Normally we pass below Ireland, but this time our flight plan took us on a big sweeping arc to the north, over Greenland, Iceland and toward Germany from the northwest. I would assume the guys driving er flying the plane know what they are doing. I’m sure it’s not their first rodeo.

Morning…

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Vimy 2017 Day 1

Poverty, Agony, Distress & Want!

So here we are…Day One. Hours from departure. I’m at home getting all the last minute packing done before I head over to the airport.

I am so unbelievably nervous. If you know me, it’s nothing unusual and par for the course. Do you know how many times I have to “go” before a football game? It’s ridiculous! It’s just who I am; I’m a worrier. I was wake this morning just after 4am and could not fall back asleep. I think everything is ready and I’ve done my best to make sure all the “T’s” are crossed and the “I’s” are dotted. I just need to relax. I’ll check back in once we’re on our way to Toronto…maybe I’ll feel better.

Well, we’re sitting here in the secure area of the Thunder Bay airport, patiently waiting for our flight. The kids are just wired, as I’m sure I was…

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Vimy 2017 here we come!

It was Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific on parade. I thought then… that in those few minutes I witnessed the birth of a nation-Brigadier General Alexander Ross, Commander, 28th Battalion, CEF April 9th, 1917

So here we are, less than 48 hours away from a great journey. The excitement, and anxiety, is palpable. On Wednesday, 23 students and 3 teachers from St. Patrick will be departing for an 11-day trip to Europe, the highlight of which will be participation in the 100th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

The last week has been insanely busy for all involved; all the last minute planning and meetings tend to be very stressful. On top of that, we have had a lot of media attention on what will be a once in a lifetime trip. On Friday, March 31st, local MPs Patty Hajdu and Don Rusnak came by the school to present travellers from both St. Patrick and St. Ignatius will small gifts for the journey. Also present was Lieutenant-Colonel David Ratz, who is the commanding officer of the Lake Superior Scottish Regiment (LSSR). Our students will be visiting graves of soldiers from the 52nd Battalion and the Lake Superior Regiment in Europe, units that are perpetuated by the LSSR today. You can read more about the media conference on TBNewswatch, CBC and the TBT News.

MPs Hajdu and Rusnak visit students from St. Patrick & St. Ignatius, March 2017.

All of the travellers will come home with many great memories from the trip. They will also take home many physical reminders as well. Anyone who visits Vimy Ridge is presented with the Vimy Pilgrimage Medal, which honours not only the sacrifice of those that fought there, but also those who have travelled to pay tribute to the fallen. The medal features the central image of the Vimy Memorial, which is the Spirit of Canada, or Mother Canada, weeping for her fallen sons. The ribbon bears the colors of the 4 Canadian Divisions who fought together at Vimy for the first time; red for the 1st Division, blue for the 2nd Division, grey for the 3rd Division and green for the 4th Division.

Vimy Pilgrimage Medal

Wifi permitting, we will be posting a day-by-day account of our journey on this site. Please follow us as we weave our way through the Netherlands, Belgium and France on this one-in-lifetime journey.

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The Latest-April 2017

Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both-C. Wright Mills

It has been another busy month in the Social Science Department.

On February 28th, the school hosted its annual open house for prospective Grade 8 students. In a break with past practice, department booths were located in their respective areas, as opposed to the gymnasium, which was designed to allow students and parents to see more of the school. Social Science was located in the North Hallway across from the music room and there was a fairly steady stream of traffic by our booth. In case you missed it, you can view our department brochure here: Department Brochure

Social Science Display, February 2017.

Learning with hands-on activities is continuing in our classrooms. Students in Ms. Bernardi’s Grade 9 geography class were able to physically create the process of the rock cycle and also eat it too. Utilizing chocolate, the students used heat, pressure and time to form the three different types of rocks; igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary. Once they had completed their “model,” they had the opportunity to savour their rock cookies as a snack!

The department trip to Europe to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge is now only days away. Twenty-three students and three teachers from St. Patrick will be joined by students and teachers from St. Ignatius as they make the pilgrimage for this once-in-a-lifetime event. It is estimated that 25,000 people will attend the ceremony, along with representatives from the government and the Monarchy. In addition to Vimy Ridge, the group will be visiting Amsterdam, Beaumont Hamel, Albert, Normandy and Paris. You can follow their progress via our website, or on Facebook and Twitter.

Vimy 100 backpack and jacket, March 2017.

Please check back soon as we will posting details before and during our trip to Europe for the 100th Anniversary of Vimy Ridge.

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