A Centre Dufferin District High School (CDDHS) teacher and various student groups commemo-rated Remembrance Day (Nov. 11) this year with the creation of a memorial display walk.
The walk featured a number of museum-like displays with artifacts and information boards put together by the high school’s social clubs. Topics included local veterans, service animals in the war, black excellence, Indigenous contributions, army chaplains, and mental health and PTSD in veterans.
“We’re trying to revamp a lot of our courses to be more reflective of diversity in society and the diversity in our school. I thought, let’s give the students the chance to see Remembrance Day and present Remembrance Day through their lens, using the voices that we’re trying to amplify in the school,” said Shannon Rankin, CDDHS social science teacher and creator.
One display, created by the Muslim Students Association, detailed the life story of Canadian soldier Hasan Amat, who fought and was killed at the Battle of Hill 70 during the First World War. Amat was one of 22 Muslim Canadians who served during the war and was the only one to die. His name is inscribed on the Vimy Memorial.
Another display, created by the CDDHS Black Chapter, spoke of Black Canadian’s becoming estab-lished in the Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force in the mid-1950s. The display in-cluded the examples of Raymond Lawrence, the first Black Petty Officer 1st class and coxswain on a Canadian ship, and Major Stephen Blizzard, a flight surgeon and jet pilot.
As part of the memorial walk, students pinned over 500 poppies around the CDDHS Honour Roll plaque, which names all the community members who have fought and served during conflicts.
Rankin, speaking with the Free Press, noted the importance of allowing the students to explore and research Remembrance Day on their own.
“It gives them a chance to think outside of their bubble, it gives them a little bit of context and perspective as to where they sit in the world, and in the larger sense of history,” said Rankin. “It makes them realize that so much we take for granted now was hard fought for, with massive sacri-fice. I think it makes them see how they are living in a world that’s a consequence of people’s sac-rifice, and it give them perspective.”
Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press