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North Vancouver schools honour veterans with virtual Remembrance Day ceremonies

Schools find new ways to commemorate during the pandemic

With COVID-19 restrictions in place, teachers and students at schools across North Vancouver put their thinking caps on to come up with new ways to commemorate on Remembrance Day.

Schools hosted virtual assemblies and made videos to ensure students had the opportunity to honour and reflect on the sacrifices made by the men and women who have served and continue to serve in the armed forces. 

Windsor Secondary School hosted a virtual livestream Remembrance Day ceremony on Tuesday afternoon for students and the school community.

Nancy Roberts, the school’s vice-principal, said while the school couldn’t gather the way it traditionally did, the importance of Remembrance still needed to be at the forefront. 

“Remembrance Day ceremonies are often a cornerstone assembly for a school, the challenge is to provide the opportunity to gather respectfully as a community but to do so virtually,” she said, speaking before the event.

“Staff and students will experience a different type of Remembrance Day assembly but will no less respectfully remember the past and accept their responsibility for a peaceful present and future.”

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Students watch a live-stream of the Windsor virtual Remembrance Day Assembly in their classroom. photo Maria Spitale-Leisk

She said the necessity of the times provided an opportunity for creativity from both staff and students.

“With creativity comes the emergence of talents from everyone,” Roberts said, mentioning the efforts of the school’s Grade 8 tech students.

“Staff have risen to the occasion as they always do, both with the content provided, especially in this 75th anniversary of VE day, and with the creativity and flexibility of format."

Roberts also highlighted the leadership of senior students to “provide something that has been important to them over the years and to do so in a new format.”

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Windsor Secondary Grade 8 student Matthew helps with the tech during the assembly. photo Maria Spitale-Leisk

Meanwhile, Capilano Elementary opted to pre-record their Remembrance Day ceremony, with the input of their students.

Doug Beveridge, the school’s principal, said, like most schools pre-COVID, students and staff would gather in the gymnasium for an assembly that included singing the national anthem, ‘Oh Canada,’ as well as the Coast Salish anthem before a moment of silence.

He said teachers had stepped up to the challenge to ensure commemorations went ahead, following pandemic restrictions. Beveridge said four grades had taken part to help piece together a 20-minute video with their teachers, which was viewed by the school’s  20 classes  simultaneously on Nov. 10.

He said Remembrance Day was both a reminder to students of the sacrifices made by our veterans and the peace Canadians are lucky to have.

“It’s also nice for the kids to reflect on the world out there beyond our school,” he explained.

He said the video was emceed by students and featured sixth-graders singing the anthem, as well as poems created by students in class. The video also honoured Indigenous and non-Indigenous veterans through art, with a slideshow of images at the end to give tribute. 

Speaking of the changes the pandemic had brought for schools, Beveridge highlighted the resilience of teachers and their ongoing efforts.

“We have teachers that are doing a wonderful job,” he said.

“I really appreciate the fact that they are looking for creative ways and using technology to make the experience very positive for kids’ learning.” 

Elisia Seeber is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

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