Middle school play teaches lessons of war

Guns boomed in the distance as Diamond Willow Middle School students stormed through Germany and held down the home front

Albertan soldier Tommy Ramsey (Connor Hoffmann

Guns boomed in the distance as Diamond Willow Middle School students stormed through Germany and held down the home front during the First World War.

The middle school stages a play, Tommy’s Homecoming, and dramatic poetry reading for parents Nov. 7. The performance was repeated for the school’s Remembrance Day ceremony on Nov. 8.

Tommy’s Homecoming, written by Kevin Ferguson, the school’s drama teacher, is about an Alberta Prairie boy who goes off to war. His family, father, mother and three sisters remain in Canada.

Tommy often sends letters home about how safe and happy he is, and how he’s nowhere near the front lines. However, the letters are lies.

One night, during a raid, Tommy is killed.

Through dreams and premonitions Tommy’s mother is able to see her son one last time and say goodbye. His whole family accepts his death— except for one sister, Samantha.

Tommy Ramsey was played by Connor Hoffmann; his mother, Esther Ramsey, by Kristen Riguidel; and the sister in denial was played by Jennifer Nicholson.

“It was really fun,” said Riguidel.

“That’s pretty much the way to sum it up,” added Nicholson.

Riguidel said throughout getting ready for the play during her performances she was able to slip into the character of a grieving mother—an emotional job for her.

“There were parts where I was really sad. When I was saying goodbye it was really depressing,” Riguidel explained.

Playing the part of a grieving mother made her think about the mothers who would have actually lost sons in battle and how they would have felt.

“You’d miss your son a lot, and you’d wish you were there with them.”

Nicholson said playing the part of a sister in denial give her a new perspective about family members who would have gone through that experience.

In the play Nicholson’s character makes a promise to Tommy, no matter what she’ll never stop believing that he’ll come home. “I think some would actually do that, just hoping and waiting in their minds just to see them again,” she said.

However, Nicholson said her character should have believed the telegram because relief would never come to her if she didn’t lay down her denial.

Hoffmann said Tommy’s Homecoming made him more appreciative of the soldiers and of their parents who spent four years never knowing if their sons were about to die.

However, he did like being in the play and enjoys drama class. “It’s pretty fun. You get to be someone that you’re not. You get to be anybody in the whole entire world.”

Hoffmann believes the play went well, although there was a lot of dialogue to learn. “It probably wouldn’t have been that good if we didn’t have such a good director, Mr. Ferguson,” he said.

Ferguson was equally pleased with his students’ performances. “I’m always amazed at what you can get out of a young kid.”

The play ties in with the Grade 8 students’ Vimy Ridge unit and is applicable because it centres on a boy from Alberta.

“It was to give the kids a kind of personal experience,” said Ferguson. The bond between a grieving mother and her son was the same during the First World War as it would be with a soldier from Afghanistan, he explained.

Ferguson said the poems from the dramatic reading followed the same storyline as the play, and all the poems where written by Canadian soldiers.

One poem not included in the reading was In Flanders Fields. Ferguson wanted to show the students there were other Canadian war poets besides John McCrae.

Just Posted

Let the Games begin!

Team Alberta takes home gold and silver in speed skating on day one

WATCH: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

Athletes’ medals unveiled at the official kick-off of 2019 Canada Winter Games

Medals depict Central Alberta landscape and pay tribute to First Nations

WATCH: Canada Winter Games are finally here

Final leg of torch relay kicked off at Fort Normandeau

Red Deer man loses car after being caught twice driving with suspended licence

The Ponoka Integrated Traffic Unit ticketed the man in December and on Valentine’s Day

Mermen calendar targets ‘toxic masculinity,’ raises big money for charities

Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Moustache Club gave a cheque for more than $202,000 to Violence Prevention NL

Team Alberta takes exciting victory in wheelchair basketball, remains undefeated

After three games in the tournament, Alberta is sitting in first place of its pool

UPDATED: ‘Violent’ B.C. man back in custody after Alberta arrest

Prince George man with ties to Vernon was being sought by police

After a week away, SNC-Lavalin questions await MPs returning to Parliament

Two have resigned already: Jody Wilson-Raybould was veterans affairs minister and Gerald Butts was Trudeau’s principal secretary

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld has died

He spent virtually his entire career at luxury labels catering to the very wealthy

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Body found after apparent house explosion in Calgary, police investigating

Sgt. Dwayne Lepchuk declined to say whose remains were found

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Deported B.C. man who came to Canada as a baby granted chance at return

Len Van Heest was deported to the Netherlands in 2017

Most Read