Tag Archives: Europe

Students honour sacrifices of war

This article originally appeared in the “School Days” column of the Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal on Monday, April 7, 2014. We thank the author for graciously allowing us to re-post it here.

Sitting in the Thunder Bay Airport on March 6, 22 St. Patrick’s High School students and 19 St. Ignatius students anxiously awaited their boarding call. Their destination: Europe – to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, the 75th anniversary of the Second World War, and the 70th anniversary of D-Day. The students were joined by Mr. Cappello, Mr. Battistel, and Ms. Borgo of St. Pat’s along with Mr. McWhirter, Ms. Papich, and Ms. Vidotto of St. Ignatius.

During their ten day journey, the students travelled through the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. All of the sites were selected to be part of the tour for their historical significance. Highlights of the trip included visits to the Anne Frank House, the Vimy Memorial, Dieppe beach, Juno beach, multiple war cemeteries, and Paris.

The main purpose of the trip was to pay respect to those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. To both teachers and students, the perspective the trip provided was extremely beneficial.

Matthew Jollineau, a grade 12 student at St. Pat’s, described the experience as “more than just a page in a textbook.” The sacrifices and reality of war became clear to all who participated. Matthew added, “It is hard to see the grave of a 16 year old and not feel anything.”

The experience was similar for the teachers as well. Mr. Battistel described an emotional experience at Bergen-op-Zoom War Cemetery: “The visit we had to the cemetery was quite emotional. After a brief prayer service at the Cross of Sacrifice, the students proceeded to the soldier’s graves they were assigned. I wish we had more time to spend there, but I think what we had was enough to make an impression. They were very quiet as they left and many (including myself) had tears in their eyes.”

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

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

Although many moments of the trip were sombre, there were many fun, lighthearted moments as well. The teacher chaperones enhanced the experience for the students. Throughout the trip, the teachers were like friends, creating a laughing, joking atmosphere while still providing insight into the history of the locations visited.

As well, some locations, such as Amsterdam, had a lively, upbeat spirit that the students enjoyed. Jollineau described Amsterdam as “simply an amazing city,” with “amazing people” and “beautiful scenery”.

Many students were also enthralled with Paris. Street vendors provided a source of amusement outside of famous landmarks. They also visited the Louvre, seeing world-renowned items such as the Mona Lisa and Hammurabi’s Code.

The experience was one that both students and teachers will remember for a long time. It not only gave them a chance to explore Europe, but it also gave them the opportunity to learn about history in the very places it was made.

More stories and pictures can be found in Mr. Battistel’s blog posts chronicling the trip at stpatssocialscience.com.

Shelby Rooney

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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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Canada’s Battlefields 2014

So here we are. At this time tomorrow we will be on our way to Europe for this fantastic trip. For many of the students, this is the trip of a lifetime; for some, this is their first time on a plane! The excitement is so intense it is palpable.

When we began this process back in September 2012, we were some 550 days away from departure. Now we are down to mere hours. It has been quite the journey for us in the planning process.

This trip is about students “touching” history and experiencing it firsthand. However, it is also about remembrance; students honouring the sacrifice that was made by Canadian soldiers in the two world wars. It is fitting that this year is the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, the 75th anniversary of the start of World War II and the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Landings. Marking these important milestones in Europe will certainly add to historical feel of the trip.

Internet connection permitting, we will be posting an account of our adventure on a daily basis. These posts will be re-blogs from Mr. Battistel’s personal site. Make sure you check back every day. Next stop Amsterdam!

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The Latest-March 2014

Truth is the cry of all, but the game of few-George Berkeley.

It’s hard to believe that we’re already a month into the new semester. It has been a very busy start to the second half of the year, but also very exciting.

On Wednesday, February 12th St. Patrick High School hosted its annual open house for prospective Grade 8 students. The event was very well attended and quite a number of students and parents stopped by the Social Science booth to learn about our programs. It also gave us an opportunity to promote our many extras in the department, such as field trips and out of town excursions. We look forward to welcoming these students to St. Pats next year.

Social Science booth, February 2014.

Social Science booth, February 2014.

Social Science booth, February 2014.

Social Science booth, February 2014.

iPads ready to go, February 2014.

iPads ready to go, February 2014.

Ms. Caza & Ms. Hallarn hard at work, February 2014.

Ms. Caza & Ms. Hallarn hard at work, February 2014.

Now speaking of excursions, next week 22 students from St. Patrick and 3 teacher chaperones will be making a historical pilgrimage to Europe. They will be joining students and teachers from St. Ignatius on EF Educational Tours “Canada’s Battlefields Tour.” Leading this amazing journey will be Mr. Cappello, Ms. Borgo and Mr. Battistel.

The group will be travelling to Amsterdam, the Scheldt, Ypres and Passchendaele, Vimy Ridge, Normandy, Dieppe and Paris on this 10-day trip. To honour Canada’s sacrifices during WWI and WWII, they will also be visiting the cemeteries at Bergen-op-Zoom, Beny-sur-Mer, and Bretteville-sur-Laize. It is the culmination of two years of planning and preparation and the travellers are eagerly anticipating the March 6th departure date.

Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, April 2012.

Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, April 2012.

During the trip, Mr. Battistel will be attempting to blog everyday about our experiences (wifi permitting). Be sure to check this blog everyday starting March 5th for the latest news and information from this awesome adventure. See you then!

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The Latest-February 2014

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself-Friedrich Nietzsche.

Things have been busy as of late for the Social Science Department. January marks the end of the semester and the start of the first round of exams for students. Following this, February brings with it the start of a new semester and a number of important events.

On February 12th St. Patrick High School will host its annual Open House for Grade 8 students. The event begins at 7:00pm in the school gymnasium. Most of the attendees for the open house are drawn from our feeder school, Pope John Paul II Senior Elementary. For St. Patrick, this is our second and most important opportunity to promote our school and our programs (the Grade 8’s visited in late November).

As usual, Social Science will have a booth set up in the gymnasium along with all of the other departments to showcase our subject areas, especially Grade 9 and 10 geography, history and civics. A heavy emphasis will be on our access to and use of technology, as some of our classes are involved with an iPad pilot project. Be sure to stop and pay us a visit.

By far the most exciting news from the department is the forthcoming March break trip to Europe. 2014 marks several important historical milestones; the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, the 75th anniversary of the start of World War II and the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Landings.

To mark these events and honour those that fought for Canada, particularly those who made the supreme sacrifice, 22 students from St. Patrick and 3 teacher chaperones will be making a historical pilgrimage to Europe. They will be joining 23 students and teachers from our sister school, St. Ignatius, on EF Educational Tours “Canada’s Battlefields Tour.” Leading this amazing journey will be Mr. Cappello, Ms. Borgo and Mr. Battistel. They will be visiting Amsterdam, the Scheldt, Ypres and Passchendaele, Vimy Ridge, Normandy, Dieppe and Paris on this 10-day trip.

German bunker, Nan White sector-Juno Beach, April 2012.

German bunker, Nan White sector-Juno Beach, April 2012.

Canadian National Vimy Memorial, April 2012.

Canadian National Vimy Memorial, April 2012.

This should prove to be a fantastic opportunity for everyone involved, much like it was on the April 2012 trip to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. If you are interested, you can follow our adventures overseas on a daily basis starting March 6th.

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