November 2002
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Roncalli High School, in Port Saunders NL, Holds Ceremony for War Veterans
By Katrina Alyward & Shannon MacKinnon, Roncalli Central High Journalism students, Port Saunders, NL

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On November 7th , 2002, Roncalli students, like others in Canada, came together to celebrate Remembrance Day. The ceremony took place in the school's gymnasium.

"Holding our own ceremony during school, gave us the opportunity to acknowledge what the war veterans did for us," explains Roncalli student, Jessica Goodland. This level 2 student was one of many students who attended the school's ceremony. "Remembrance Day is a day of honor. Our ceremony was more of a day to respect our veterans and show our appreciation to them for risking their lives for us," Jessica added.

The ceremony involved students, staff and the 857 Roncalli Air Cadets. After the students were seated, the Air Cadets made their entrance with a parade around the gymnasium. Following the parade, was a Remembrance Day slide show of the war veterans in the local area. Two Roncalli grade eight students, Cecilia Gaslard and Stephanie Powell, informed their schoolmates with an explanation of why poppies are important on Remembrance Day. Another Roncalli student, Renée Kennedy, proceeded with the English version of "Flanders Field".Reading the french version of "Flanders Field", was a level one student, Nikki Ryan. A member of the 857 Roncalli Air Cadets, Michael Biggin, played "The Last Post"on the saxophone, along with his fellow classmate, Quentin House.

Commanding Officer for the 857 Roncalli Air Cadets, Colleen Lowe, feels that the cadets play an important role in the Remembrance Day ceremonies. "They represent youth and the youth connected to the Canadian Forces," implies Ms Lowe. According to Ms Lowe, the Air Cadets have been involved in Remembrance Day ceremonies for the last twenty years, so preparation for these events are made into their weekly routines.

When asked what Remembrance Day meant to her, Flight Sergeant, Megan Gaslard, a member of the Roncalli Air Cadets, responded eagerly. "As a cadet, I feel it is especially important for us to take part and show respect for those soldiers who fought in the war for us," exclaimed Fl-Sgt. Gaslard.

"Fighting in the Korean War for two years and living, makes me feel like a survivor, not a hero," implies Mr Leo Scanlon, a war veteran of Port Saunders, NL. Mr. Scanlon was a veteran who attended the Remembrance Day ceremony. Although Mr Scanlon did not take part in the ceremony, he sat and observed as the Roncalli students gave respect to all the war veterans like himself. "It feels great to be thought of as a hero by people surrounding me, and people I don't even know, even though I don't feel like a hero myself."

According to Mrs Connie Powell, Vice-Principal of Roncalli High School, the Remembrance Day assembly gave students the opportunity to acknowledge veterans in their own special way. "The ceremony specifically used student input and participation in a way that would not be possible at a community event," states Mrs Powell. "Without the assembly, many students would fail to realize the importance of November 11th."


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