At St. Andrew’s College, a now seven-year tradition has been forged for Remembrance Day.
Grade 8 history teacher, Melissa Ramon, together with the Archivist, Sue Hayter, have, for the past seven years, invited grade 8 history students to explore and honour the lives of some of the 104 young SAC alumni who died in the First World War.
The students used alumni files from the School’s archives along with digitized photographs and yearbooks to investigate the lives of Fallen Andreans from their days at the School to their final resting place. Over the years, the students have created several different culminating projects, including memorial trading cards for the fallen soldiers, short dramatic pieces, and web pages. This year, the students uploaded their Fallen Andreans’ biographies to the Imperial War Museum in London, England.
The students discover many links to the past: 100 years ago, SAC students played hockey and football, became Prefects, came from faraway lands, and, occasionally, got into trouble. Of the many Andreans whose lives were lost at war, 10 are commemorated each year at our Middle School Remembrance Day ceremony.
Imagine 10 white crosses standing starkly on the crisp green grass outside the Chapel in the early morning sunlight. At each white cross stands a grade 11 student, proudly holding a photograph of a young man not much older than he.
Grade 12 student, Dalton Lehman, said he had longed for this moment: “Since grade six, I wanted to be in the shoes of the senior boys who presented on Remembrance Day. It felt amazing to finally be here and, hopefully, inspire Middle School kids, just like it inspired me.”
The younger students walk around the Quad (the Soldiers’ Walk) and pause at each of the 10 crosses to listen to the older students recount the stories of their Andrean brothers, the 10 fallen soldiers.
One of the grade 11 students, Graham Stanley-Paul, tells the story of Lt. Freeman Munro. “Honouring these lads is so important, because when we do, they didn’t really die overseas in France and Belgium, they live on with us, 100 years later,” Graham states.
Grade 11 student, Hayden Reinemo, recounts the story of Edward Winter, killed at the devastating battle at Beaumont Hamel. Hayden describes what went through his mind: “For me, this made me think of how lucky we are, and how at my age, back then, I could have been in the same scenario as these soldiers.”
It was a moving, poignant experience, and, as Jalen Gu described, it was “overwhelming to think that hundreds who went before us fought in war.”
The stories of courage and valour continue to resonate deeply 100 years on. Let us never forget all who defend freedom. We at St. Andrew’s will continue to honour every Andrean who fought for his country, especially those who were never to return.
For more information about all Andreans who have fought for our country, please visit our Cadets web pages.
Story by Sue Hayter