Cruz Rochon makes sure her veterans’ headstone gets a thorough and respectful cleaning. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

A field trip to remember

Students from Lax Kxeen spent a special afternoon out in anticipation of Remembrance Day

Students from Lax Kxeen Elementary got a hands-on history lesson on Monday when they travelled to the Fairview Cemetery for an afternoon excursion.

While it was a beautiful day to be outside, the task at hand was a serious one: to give a thorough cleaning to the headstones of Prince Rupert’s war veterans.

Many of the students, such as Nolan Trask, spent time wondering what it would have been like to meet their veterans, or to have lived through the wars they endured. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Nolan Trask and Maizen Pahl pause to assess their task at hand. The students will return next week for a Remembrance Day ceremony at the cemetery. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

An annual trip organized by the cemetery with a different school each year, the goal is to get kids out of the classroom and show them tangible proof of the sacrifice Rupertites paid in order to keep their homes and country safe.

“Coming here gives the kids a connection to something, it makes it real for them to realize that there were veterans from Prince Rupert who died in the war,” Karen Kowal, a Grade 4/5 teacher at Lax Kxeen, said.

“It makes it more meaningful to them, and more connected to the soldiers,” she added.

Students were given a map, and sent on a mission to find and clean the headstone of their veteran. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Small Canadian flags were also placed at the veterans’ headstones. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

READ MORE: Prince Rupert Sea Cadets sail with Royal Canadian Navy

Students spent their time giving a full scrub to the headstones, followed by a rinse and towel down to reveal the freshly polished surface. Many commented on how long ago the soldiers were born, or pondered what they might have been like during their lives. When they were finished with their work, the students marched in single file to the flag as a show of respect to the veterans.

(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

To start Remembrance Day weekend, next Friday the students will return to the cemetery for an official ceremony to honour the veterans.

“I think that it will be an emotional time for them. There’s singing and there will be the ‘Last Post’ for them to hear,” Kowal said of what can be expected next week.

“They’ve already made a connection to the soldiers, so I think that they’ll feel emotional about it.”

READ MORE: Heart of Our City: Mona Izumi: Sharing a piece of history


Alex Kurial | Journalist
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