Students around Richmond are preparing for their Remembrance Day assemblies that will educate students and honour those who served with songs, performances and visits from veterans.
Most schools in the district will mark Remembrance Day a few days early this year, on Nov. 9.
“I think for us, just living in Canada and recognizing that we live in a country that affords us certain freedoms is something we shouldn’t take lightly,” said Ravinder Johal, principal of Hugh Boyd Secondary.
Hugh Boyd has an assembly planned Friday morning, and they’re expecting to do a ceremony and listen to remarks from a veteran.
“Especially with occurrences that are happening around the world ... we don’t want to take our freedoms for granted,” Johal said.
Over at A.R. MacNeill Secondary, the Grade 10 to 12 students in the citizen leadership class are planning their ceremony that will include the school band, a piece by the drama class, a dance performance by a dance class, candle lighting and a presentation on Richmond’s contributions during World War II.
Catriona Misfeldt, who teaches the leadership class, says she’s proud of how her students have stepped up.
“They really took it on with a sense of responsibility,” she said. “They really realize the solemnness of the ceremony, and work to make something that’s meaningful and respectful and helps to build some understanding.”
Grade 11 student Tony Smith spent time researching with the Richmond Archives to create a presentation highlighting Richmond’s contributions during World War II. He hopes the local connection will make it meaningful to students.
“[It’s an] opportunity to educate students on an important part of city’s past … on some of the things they may not know about Remembrance Day,” he said.
He learned about the women who helped build aircraft at the Sea Island Boeing factory, and the women who worked at the cannery supplying protein (in the form of canned red herring) to those on the front lines.
Misfeldt thinks it’s important to have an education piece that explains the significance of Remembrance Day in a Canadian context, since MacNeill often hosts international students.
Special guest Major Roland Luo from the Canadian Armed Forces will also share his remarks with students at the assembly. He’s the Company Commander for the army reserve unit at No 4 Road and Westminster Highway, a battalion that provides combat service support like transport, vehicle and weapon maintenance and food services.
Misfeldt says she expects him to touch on current CAF roles like disaster relief and peacekeeping.
As for Smith, he says he’s grateful for his chance to help create a memorable Remembrance Day.
“It’s a day to acknowledge the people that gave their lives or just contributed their effort and time to protecting our freedom,” Smith said. “They shouldn’t be forgotten. They should be remembered.”