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Students carry flags to Vimy graves

May 1, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Marni Walsh


To commemorate 100 years since the Battle of Vimy Ridge and remember the sacrifices made there, a group of Dufferin high school students visited the nearby cemetery of Cabaret Rouge in the Vimy Region of France earlier this month.

The students each researched Canadian soldiers buried there and completed a biography on their soldier.

They honoured their soldiers by placing a Canadian flag at each of their grave sites.

“Some of our students definitely got emotional when finally reaching the gravesite of the soldier who they had been researching,” said Erik Zeidler, Dept. Head of Social Science at Centre Dufferin District High School in Shelburne. “This is the type of historical connection we are trying to make.”

Mr. Zeidler reported the group left for England on April 3, spending a couple days in London and attending a ceremony commemorating the Canadian military’s contributions to the First World War at Canada Gate across from Buckingham Palace.

They then ferried across the English channel to France visiting Arromanches (Gold Beach) and then the Juno Beach Centre where the D-Day landings are commemorated.

“Centre Dufferin has donated many bricks over the years to the Juno Beach Centre,” said Mr. Zeidler, “the students were given a special reception by the Centre for being repeat visitors many times over.”

The students then proceeded to the Vimy region, visiting Arras and Valenciennes with this portion of the trip culminating in the 100th Commemoration of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

“The opportunity to be at an event of such magnitude, honouring such an important point of Canadian history was not lost on the students,” said the teacher.  “Hearing the speeches of Justin Trudeau, Prince Charles and Francois Hollande was a definitely a highlight.”

The trip finished with three days in Paris, taking in all the sites including the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, Sacre Couer, the Louvre and Notre Dame. The Battlefield Tours were initiated by CDDHS teacher Neil Orford who is retiring at the end of the year and will lead his final European tour with CDDHS students in June to mark the 73rd anniversary of D-Day with 22 students and parents from all three Dufferin schools.

“This type of experiential learning for our history students has brought a whole new perspective and understanding for them,” said Zeidler. “By bringing history to life we hope they gain a greater understanding of the events which shape our current world and give them a picture of different cultures around the world.”



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