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Experience of a lifetime

Benoit Lebel is walking across the country to raise money for the Children’s Wish Foundation.
Benoit Lebel is walking across the country to raise money for the Children’s Wish Foundation.

It was an idea, a dream and a personal want for adventure.

Kyra, who lives in Seldom, attends Fogo Island Central Academy while Ethan is a Grade 9 student at J.M. Olds Collegiate in Twillingate. The students represented their schools at the Regional Heritage Fair in Grand Falls-Windsor last month.

They are two of the 19 students who earned a trip to Europe to join the Trail of the Caribou Pilgrimage to Beaumont Hamel with the Ambassador Program, a joint initiative between the Department of Education and the Department of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development under the Honour 100 Program. The Ambassador Program recognizes excellence in projects where students commemorate the men and women who answered the call to serve in the First World War, both at home and abroad.

“It was lots of work.  I started before Easter and worked on it until the weekend prior to the Fair.  I got a lot of information from the Rooms and the Twillingate Public Library,” Ethan said.

He admitted that he did not know a great deal about WWI before he started his project “The Newfoundland Regiment’s Role in WWI,” but he found it very interesting as he dug into the subject.  One of the books he recommended is “Into the Blizzard, Walking the Fields of the Newfoundland Dead” written by Michael Winter.

“It was very well written and had lots of information,” he said

There are family connections that piqued the interest of Ethan.

“My great-great-grandfather, Elijah Dalley was with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in WWI.  He joined at the end of the war and didn’t see any fighting. Our family is also related by marriage to Allan Young, the Twillingate native who was one of the 68 who survived and was able to answer the call after the Battle of Beaumont Hamel,” he said.

Ethan’s mother, Tina Rogers adds that there is another WWI story that is interesting.  “My boyfriend, Colin Stuckless’ great uncle was Tommy Ricketts,” a soldier in the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and recipient of the Victoria Cross.

Ethan’s teacher, Jocelyn Bath, was very impressed with the contents of his project and the knowledge that he was able to acquire through his determination.

“He had information about the Blue Puttees, the Trail of the Caribou and the MacPherson gas mask, a Newfoundland invention.  He had a replica of the Danger Tree, a mark in the middle of No Man’s Land at Beaumont-Hamel where most of the Newfoundland soldiers died.”

He had the army uniform of Allan Young, and they were very surprised when his mother found a liner from a gas mask still in the pocket.

Kyra completed her Heritage Fair project on Thomas Ricketts and was the only student from her school to attend the regional competition.

Because of high school graduation ceremonies held the same day, Kyra’s teacher was unable to attend the fair so her mother, Germaine, brought her to Grand Falls-Windsor.

Both mother and daughter watched as other students were called on stage to receive various awards. But they had no idea when Kyra’s name was called what her prize would be.

“I was surprised. I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Kyra said.

When Kyra returned to her booth from the stage and opened the envelope containing information about the prize, her mother was speechless.

“I was shocked. She kept asking me, ‘Mom, is this right?’ I told her we would read it in the car,” Germaine said.

It was when Kyra received her itinerary last Wednesday night Germaine realized the extent of what she would see and do during the trip. One highlight of the trip for Kyra will be attending the Kortijk Ceremony that honours Thomas Ricketts while Ethan is looking forward to seeing the fields of Beaumont-Hamel.

Kyra and Ethan travel to Europe from June 28 to July 6 and make the once in a lifetime journey to experience such a significant part of Newfoundland history.

 

christy.janes@pilotnl.ca

twillingatepilot@hotmail.com

Kyra, who lives in Seldom, attends Fogo Island Central Academy while Ethan is a Grade 9 student at J.M. Olds Collegiate in Twillingate. The students represented their schools at the Regional Heritage Fair in Grand Falls-Windsor last month.

They are two of the 19 students who earned a trip to Europe to join the Trail of the Caribou Pilgrimage to Beaumont Hamel with the Ambassador Program, a joint initiative between the Department of Education and the Department of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development under the Honour 100 Program. The Ambassador Program recognizes excellence in projects where students commemorate the men and women who answered the call to serve in the First World War, both at home and abroad.

“It was lots of work.  I started before Easter and worked on it until the weekend prior to the Fair.  I got a lot of information from the Rooms and the Twillingate Public Library,” Ethan said.

He admitted that he did not know a great deal about WWI before he started his project “The Newfoundland Regiment’s Role in WWI,” but he found it very interesting as he dug into the subject.  One of the books he recommended is “Into the Blizzard, Walking the Fields of the Newfoundland Dead” written by Michael Winter.

“It was very well written and had lots of information,” he said

There are family connections that piqued the interest of Ethan.

“My great-great-grandfather, Elijah Dalley was with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in WWI.  He joined at the end of the war and didn’t see any fighting. Our family is also related by marriage to Allan Young, the Twillingate native who was one of the 68 who survived and was able to answer the call after the Battle of Beaumont Hamel,” he said.

Ethan’s mother, Tina Rogers adds that there is another WWI story that is interesting.  “My boyfriend, Colin Stuckless’ great uncle was Tommy Ricketts,” a soldier in the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and recipient of the Victoria Cross.

Ethan’s teacher, Jocelyn Bath, was very impressed with the contents of his project and the knowledge that he was able to acquire through his determination.

“He had information about the Blue Puttees, the Trail of the Caribou and the MacPherson gas mask, a Newfoundland invention.  He had a replica of the Danger Tree, a mark in the middle of No Man’s Land at Beaumont-Hamel where most of the Newfoundland soldiers died.”

He had the army uniform of Allan Young, and they were very surprised when his mother found a liner from a gas mask still in the pocket.

Kyra completed her Heritage Fair project on Thomas Ricketts and was the only student from her school to attend the regional competition.

Because of high school graduation ceremonies held the same day, Kyra’s teacher was unable to attend the fair so her mother, Germaine, brought her to Grand Falls-Windsor.

Both mother and daughter watched as other students were called on stage to receive various awards. But they had no idea when Kyra’s name was called what her prize would be.

“I was surprised. I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Kyra said.

When Kyra returned to her booth from the stage and opened the envelope containing information about the prize, her mother was speechless.

“I was shocked. She kept asking me, ‘Mom, is this right?’ I told her we would read it in the car,” Germaine said.

It was when Kyra received her itinerary last Wednesday night Germaine realized the extent of what she would see and do during the trip. One highlight of the trip for Kyra will be attending the Kortijk Ceremony that honours Thomas Ricketts while Ethan is looking forward to seeing the fields of Beaumont-Hamel.

Kyra and Ethan travel to Europe from June 28 to July 6 and make the once in a lifetime journey to experience such a significant part of Newfoundland history.

 

christy.janes@pilotnl.ca

twillingatepilot@hotmail.com

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