In 2012 grade 11 and 12 students who are taking history may have the opportunity to participate in a nine or 10 day field trip overseas to visit some historic war sites after the school board passed a motion at their monthly meeting to support the beginning stages of planning the trip.
The potential field trip would start on April 3 with students returning on April 12, 2012, with the itinerary including visits to Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, Juno Beach, Amsterdam where they will visit Anne Frank’s house, Brussels, Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, and Paris, where they will visit the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral and le Louvre. This field trip would be for educational purposes, and would coincide with the 95th anniversary of the Canadian victory near Arras in the Great War.
“It’s something students need to see. A lot of kids take things for granted nowadays, so it would be good for them to see,” said trustee Janet Beil, who made the motion in support of the trip.
On April 9, 2012, there will be thousands of students visiting Vimy Ridge, and teachers Dianne Rabel and Kevin Sawka would like their students to be part of that. According to the two instructors, there has been a lot of student interest about the trip so far.
Before the trip, students would begin researching fallen soldiers from the area by visiting the archives, as well as through books and online. Then, when in France, they will try to find some of these names at the graveyard on the tombstones, and honour the fallen soldiers. Rabel said she had done a field trip of this nature with a previous class, and said it changed the learning atmosphere in her classroom, as well as changing her views when she visited some of the potential itinerary herself last year.
“I am passionate about teaching this part of Canadian history to a new generation. Having participated in the Historica-Dominion Battlefields Tour last summer, I know how meaningful it is to visit these places that are sacred to the memory of Canadians,” explained the CHSS teacher and librarian in an information sheet to the board.
“To stand there, to see, to touch… it gives one an emotional connection to our past.”
Sawka is the partner in this potential field trip, and would be one of the other chaperones on the trip. Sawka is also very passionate with Canadian history, teaching the subject at PRSS for many years. Sawka hopes that this trip would inspire patriotism in students and make them feel a sense of connection with their community. Together, Rabel and Sawka believe that this trip would be an unforgettable experience for the students involved.
The estimated cost per student will be $3,505. That fee would cover travel, tours, hotels, breakfast and dinner. All other costs, such as lunch, insurance, incidentals and spending money would be the responsibility of the students. Students wishing to be part of the field trip would also be required to participate in fund raising activities.
Additionally, the school board may possibly be funding some of the trip, although it is too early to say how much that may