CARBONEAR, NL — Following a tour of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 23 and a presentation on veterans they could choose to honour, Carbonear Academy students were well equipped to make some decisions.
Last year, Grade 7 and 8 students at the school took on a project to cover the cost of memorial banners honouring war veterans. They specifically hoped to recognize those who no longer have family in the area. Several banners have already been paid for and printed, displayed for all to see along Water Street.
The $469 raised covered the cost of two banners. Last Wednesday, the students visited Branch 23 and later made their selections.
The Grade 7 students chose Arthur Nicholl, a pilot who was stationed in Italy, Germany and Western Europe in the Second World War. The Grade 8 class also decided to recognize a Second World War veteran, choosing Elizabeth Swain. She was a member of the Women’s Army Corps.
Branch 23 member Leslie Forward chairs the remembrance committee. She was deeply touched by what the students did for the Legion.
“When I found out they were doing that, I was proud, I was honoured (and) I was blown away that children of that age would look to remembering and honouring our veterans,” she told the Compass. “I was awestruck that these children would do that.”
On Wednesday, students arrived at the Legion building by bus for the tour. Broken into groups, they learned about memorabilia and artifacts stored there, heard some stories and were given the opportunity to ask questions.
Grade 7 teacher Jane Green told the Compass a conversation with Legion member Sarah Lawrence about the advancement of women in the military struck a chord with a lot of students and may have contributed to the selection of Swain as one of the veterans honoured with a banner. Green added there were even a couple of Grade 7 girls who said they may look at joining the Canadian Forces after they finish school.
Forward said it was fantastic having the students inside their building, adding it’s something Branch 23 would like to do more often with local schools.
“Those children were so well behaved and so interested,” she said. “It’s like they wanted to absorb what information was there.”