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Students to show respect through creativity at armistice gala

Wednesday, 07 November 2018. Posted in Shootin' the Breeze

Students to show respect through creativity at armistice gala

In back are Aiden Douglas, left, Aden Janson, Lewis Rogers and Ethan Wall. In middle row are Alice Murray, Tori Wakaluk and Elena Tkachuk. In front are Maeve Rothlin and Ashley Enefer. Missing is Jasmine Sydora.   Photo by Jess Harrington

Students to show respect through creativity at armistice gala

By Jess Harrington

“A little nervous, but definitely excited.”

That’s how Grade 11 student Aiden Douglas says he’s feeling as he prepares to show his respect to local veterans this weekend.

Aiden is one of 10 students from Crowsnest Consolidated High School who have prepared special projects that they will present for guests at the armistice anniversary and veterans gala this Saturday in Crowsnest Pass.

Aiden’s project will use food to tell the story of the First World War.

“I’m making little dessert hors d’oeuvres based off some of the major powers in World War I,” he says. “So we’ll have French beignets, Italian cannolis, German apple strudel and British sticky toffees.”

Students who prepare a project for this event will get school credits through the Alberta Education special projects program, but Aiden says it’s about more than improving his transcript.

“It’s a big milestone, and our community participated in this thing 100 years ago,” he says. “There’s a lot of people in the Legion that were in conflicts and I think this is a good way to show to them that the youth in the community recognizes how important that is.”

Senior Maeve Rothlin says she wants to make sure she doesn’t disappoint with her project either.

She’s working on four watercolour portraits of Coleman veterans, which will be hung at the gala.

“It’s hard because you can make one line and all of a sudden they can look very sad, and I want them to have more of an innocence and dignity, and look mournful rather than afraid,” Maeve says.

“But it’s also totally enjoyable. The best part was looking for inspiration and [deciding] how to give them their own personality and justify it … because the families are there and you want it to live up to expectations.”

Luckily, Maeve has some good help — her mother is local artist Kari Lehr.

“She helps me with perspective, dimensions, making sure everything looks right,” Maeve says. “It’s been nice working with my mom because of her very high standards.”

The four other projects that will be presented at the gala are more performative:

Grade 12 students Aden Janson, Lewis Rogers and Ethan Wall will perform a special rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “Death To My Hometown,” where the lyrics have been tweaked to acknowledge the history of the 192nd Battalion of Crowsnest Pass.

Ashley Enefer, Grade 12, will read some local primary source documents — letters and scripts by southern Albertans who served and loved those who served.

Jasmine Sydora, another senior and Crowsnest Pass Music Festival-winning pianist, will perform a series of First World War-era pieces as guests arrive, such as “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” and “When You Wore a Tulip.”

And three dancers from Turning Pointe Dance Studio — Tori Wakaluk, Grade 12; Alice Murray, Grade 11; and Elena Tkachuk, Grade 11 — will perform an interpretive piece that they have choreographed themselves about a soldier’s loss of innocence on the front line.

Alice Murray says she appreciates the opportunity to use her passion to honour something important.

“It’s nice to be able to give back through dance, because we’re so committed and do so much of it,” she says. “It’s nice to put that back into the community and do something good with it.”

Debby Greenwood, treasurer and secretary of the Coleman Legion, says gala organizers are thrilled with the students’ creativity, and hopes their projects will help maintain the legacy of Nov. 11.

“They’ve gone above and beyond what we asked them to do — and that’s the generation we need to hit with the importance of the message of Remembrance Day,” she says.

“You can bet all 10 of those students will remember this, and hopefully treasure Remembrance Day like we do and pass that on.”

The students say working with local veterans has already made an impression on them.

“They’ve kind of guided us through the whole thing,” says Alice Murray.

“They’ve told us what they want out of it, but they’ve given us the freedom to do it, and we’ve learned about their stories from the war. It’s [been] an eye-opener. It’s different to talk to someone who experienced it.”

“A lot of them have expressed how important and thoughtful they feel this is, and I think that really helps us want to do it more,” adds Aiden Douglas.

“They put their lives on the line. It’s a very important thing, and I feel like if we don’t continually recognize that, we might forget it, and we don’t want that to happen.”

The students will test-run their projects at their school remembrance service on Nov. 9, which is open to the public, for those community members unable to get tickets to the gala. The service will start at 9 a.m. in the CCHS gym.