A teacher and student from Edmonton’s Vimy Ridge Academy are heading to their schools namesake.
The two will leave for France Tuesday, and will be live streaming their visit to the historical site to thousands of students across Canada on Thursday.
Grade 12 student Josh Hidson told Global News Monday, the goal of the trip and the live stream is to educate Canadian youth on the importance of the battle and Canada’s role in it.
“I think it’s so important to really tie it back to who we are as Canadians, and the pride that we feel in this event and what it meant.”
Teacher Graham Fleming has spent his entire teaching career spanning almost seven years at Vimy Ridge Academy.
Fleming said the idea to actually go to France cultivated organically.
“Early discussions of hey we should have some kind of assembly or some kind of project for the students to do to recognize this. That turned into, hey wouldn’t it be great if we could connect live across the country. And wouldn’t that be great if we could have a teacher and a student at the actual memorial connecting it all together and making it more experiential for the students. “
Hidson feels like his peers know the facts on what happened in 1917, but not the meaning behind it.
“And how that relates to the Canadian identity, what it means to be Canadian. That’s something I’m hoping to bring back and share with youth at my school and across the nation is, this is what it means to be Canadian.”
Fleming, whose great-grandpa actually fought at Vimy Ridge said if the kids who watch the live stream take anything away from the visit, it’s the meaning behind the name.
“If our youth can have an appreciation for just the kind of sacrifice that had to happen in order for us to have what we have today, and we can keep that moving forward. I think that we owe it to the people who sacrificed. I think that it will hopefully get us to a place where we never have to go through that again.”
The pair will also attend the 100 anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge on Sunday.
– With files from Global News (CJ)