This Remembrance Day, Bonnie Roda’s Grade 6 and 7 students from Maple Ridge Christian School are paying tribute to veterans in a special and personal way.
The kids have written poetry to honour the service and sacrifice of the men and women from past and current day military, and have entered their poems in the third annual Honouring Our Veterans poetry contest held locally.
“The kids wanted to write the poems for the veterans, and felt very strongly about honouring them,” Roda told The TIMES. “It’s not about winning the contest, they wanted to let the veterans know they have not forgotten.”
The students gathered inspiration from various resources, documents about war and battle, handouts and newspapers made available from the veterans, as well as talking with each other and sharing stories about grandparents who served in the forces.
The girls are as keen as the boys, and some have expressed interest in wanting to join the army cadets, the teacher explained.
“This has been very beneficial in teaching and motivating the children to realize that cadets also offer a life of service; to show gratitude is a big subject for us this year,” revealed Roda.
The class is also responsible for organizing a Remembrance Day chapel assembly held at the school this morning (Thursday) for students and parents alike.
“The children are eager to learn about the sacrifices of others for them,” added Roda.
Joe Robinsmith, founder and coordinator of the poetry contest, is excited about this year’s entries:
“We received 66 poems in total,” he said, thanking The TIMES for taking a leadership role in soliciting entries from the community.
Twelve came in from Whonnock Elementary; 19 from MRCS; 21 from Webster’s Corners Elementary; and 14 adult submissions – predominately from Maple Ridge residents.
Entries in the adult category ranged from 19 years and up; 92-year-old John Athey was the oldest participant to contribute.
Darren Morrey wrote a poem that he will also be performing as a song entitled Trees to Trenches. He dedicated it to his great-grandfather.
“The whole point of starting this contest three years ago is to provide a venue for young people to write and promote their poetry,” Robinsmith said.
Entries are being judged by university students Paige Peterson and Colton Robinsmith using various criteria, including structure.
Poems will be read and Morrey will perform his song at The ACT on Monday, Nov. 11 from 1 to 1:45 p.m., following the Remembrance Day ceremonies in Memorial Peace Park. The reception will also include announcements of this year’s poetry winners.
Prizes are once again courtesy of Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin and journals ad gift cards are donated by Black Bond Books.
Watch The TIMES print and online editions for the list of winners and each of the poetry submissions
© Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Times