School plans touching remembrance service

Students with the Broncs World Tour at Ponoka Composite High School have been working hard the last two weeks planning

Ron Labrie gives students a tour of Ponoka Composite High School’s Hall of Valor.

Students with the Broncs World Tour at Ponoka Composite High School have been working hard the last two weeks planning the school’s esteemed Remembrance Day ceremony.

“It’s critically important we’re ready for Nov. 8. It’s going to be a bigger deal than usual,” said Ron Labrie, PCHS teacher and Broncs World Tour founder, during the student’s first planning session.

This year the school will host a formal viewing of its Hall of Valor, which focuses on remembrance and commemorates Canadian soldiers.

Etching classroom windows with important war locations and scenes has begun in the hall. All other details of the hall are being kept under wraps. “This is going to kick it off. It’s the beginning of what it will hopefully look like,” explained Labrie.

The school is also going to induct a soldier into the Hall of Valor each year. “Our Hall of Valor inductee this year is Willard Doran, 21, when he died,” said Labrie.

Doran was shot down in 1944 during a bombing in Berlin. Labrie is hoping members of his family will be able to attend the school’s ceremony.

During the student’s first planning session on Oct. 28, they were given a tour of the hall, then it was down to business.

It was agreed the ceremony, which will begin at 10 a.m., would begin with O Canada. “It’s a formal ceremony, it’s very important we start with that,” said Labrie.

The students took the significance of the ceremony and its formality seriously. A formal dress code is being set for the students.

Labrie is hoping a veteran from the Royal Canadian Legion will attend the ceremony but recognized it may be an associate member. “There is not enough of them to go around anymore, and that’s a sad statement.

Labrie imposed on the students how precious the veterans and their time is. He told the students that at this year’s candlelight vigil he noticed there were more students than veterans.

The ceremony will also include candles, as it has in the past, although this year some may be battery operated. “We actually had 155 to symbolize the amount of soldiers who died in Afghanistan,” said Labrie, referring to last year.

A musical piece and a presentation on Ontario’s Highway of Heroes will also be included in the ceremony.

“Recognition lists are also something I really love,” said Labrie. The students collect names of soldiers related to or known by students and each day names are read over the intercom.

Remembrance Day is the Broncs World Tour’s first large project of the year and the students involved are taking it seriously.

“I like that our school is famous for this,” said Grade 12 student Kendra Sather. “It’s really important people pay respect to that. Lest we forget, it’s not something that just goes away.”

Another Grade 12 student, Nicole Schuur, who was born in Holland, is not only excited to be involved in the Broncs World Tour but also grateful.

During the Second World War, Schuur’s grandfather was trapped in a house by Nazis, as the Germans were being pushed out of Holland. “The Nazis actually physically pushed them in there. They thought they were going to die,” she said.

However, the house was raided instead. “They got lucky I guess. My family wouldn’t have existed.”

Schuur’s other grandfather fought for Holland after the war and her uncle fought in Afghanistan.

In 1974 Schuur’s father was almost recruited for Holland’s military. “In Holland, at a young age, men are recruited for the military. He didn’t have to because he had a farm,” Schuur explained.

Schuur and her parents have attended the school’s Remembrance Day ceremony almost every year. “We really appreciate what he (Labrie) does.”

Schuur will travel to Europe in the new year with her Broncs World Tour classmates to tour soldiers’ gravesites and other significant locations. “I really want the chance to go see these people and be thankful for what they did. Not only for my country but for all of Europe,” she said.

Just Posted

Reflections: Celebrating the long history of the Ponoka Fire Department

The department served Ponoka for 112 years protecting area residents

WCPS to set meeting with Alberta Education

Wolf Creek Public Schools wants to see some clarification on student funding

UCP leader uses Ponoka fundraiser to prep party for spring election

Jason Kenney focused on policy convention and need for united front in order to win in 2019

Concerns of CFOs has Ponoka County considering changes

County council approves hiring of consultant to help with MDP changes

WCPS approves new name for Ponoka Outreach School

Trustees accept suggestion to rename Ponoka Outreach, awaiting Alberta Education approval

NDP gives Liberal budget ‘failing grade’ on gender equality

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Sheila Malcolmson said budget doesn’t do enough to focus on pay equity

Lance Armstrong settles $100M lawsuit with U.S. government

Disgraced cyclist reached $5-million settlement with sponsor U.S. Postal Service

Black Press Media acquires two new Alaska newspapers

New Media Investment Group to acquire the Akron (OH) Beacon Journal while Black Press Media takes on daily newspapers in Juneau and Kenai Alaska

UPDATE: No charges in found horses near Bentley

Responding Ponoka veterinarian says horses were in healthy condition.

Men arrested at Starbucks say they feared for their lives

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks, becoming viral video

Did a Canadian shoot down the Red Baron? A century later, debate hasn’t quit

Om April 21, 1918 two Canadians in their canvas-covered Sopwith Camel biplanes engaged the enemy

VIDEO: Canadian teen lands invite to Royal wedding

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have invited Faith Dickinson, founder of Cuddles for Cancer

Ponoka County worries about Prussian carp in Gull Lake

Alberta Environment delays pumping due to at least 1,000 carp found near the pump channel inlet

Health committee cheers idea of national pharmacare program, but cost an issue

Conservative health critic Marilyn Gladu says she fears costs could be far higher than $19 billion

Most Read