Next Monday, at Glen Ames Senior Public School, students will reflect on the act of remembrance.
Their reflections, part of the school’s Nov. 11 Remembrance Day observance, come from a story about the First World War, titled The Enemy: A Book about Peace. In the story, a soldier enters the enemy’s trenches and finds that, just like him, the enemy soldiers have a manual that teaches how to hate their enemy. Glen Ames students have read the story and have prepared their own remembrance responses.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” a Grade 8 student said. His student group has prepared music for a guitar ensemble at the ceremony. “I think it’s really going to mean a lot to us.”
Students and staff have transformed the school gymnasium into a theatre-in-the-round stage with a backdrop of white doves rising from a display of the two trenches in the story. All Grade 7 and 8 classes will participate in the ceremony. Each student receives a white dove-shaped paper and writes on it a short reflection about the theme.
“Everyone was fighting for a reason,” one student said about The Enemy.
Ian Speck teaches music at Glen Ames and has helped organize the Remembrance event.
“At this age level, it’s really important that the kids relate it back to themselves. So they express symbolism with a performance piece,” he said. “That’s why we decided to go with the story. It gets every teacher on board. It gets every student on board.”
Laura Kingelin and Heri Kossifakis, also involved in organizing the event, agree this approach to Remembrance Day holds the students’ attention and keeps them motivated.
“They’re looking, they’re interested in what the classes came up with and I think they’re really fascinated…they’re really blown away,” Kingelin said.
“They see their contribution and where it’s going… They want to see it through right to the end,” Kossifakis said.