Grade 4 students from Stephanie Cardinal’s classes at Ecole Mother Teresa School gathered together with members of the community to honour WWI veterans.
The students from Mother Teresa participated in a program called No Stone Left Alone, and the school in one of three in Central Alberta participating.
“This is the first time this program is being done in Central Alberta, and I really think it is great,” said Cardinal who was approached by Mother Teresa’s principal Jodi Smith to represent the school.
“I really think it is a great program and the kids can really learn a lot.”
No Stone Left Alone has students visit the graves of veterans who aren’t visited often or at all. The students place a stone on or alongside the grave marker with a poppy they painted on it.
Cardinal says each student painted the poppy on the stones and it was then sealed to stand all weather, including the snow.
“We are really excited to be a part of this worthy cause,” Cardinal said, adding her class is the only one participating in the program this year. “I already have the other Grade 4 classes ready to participate next year.”
After placing a stone on the grave the students said a short piece which re-enforcing their dedication to remembering the veterans and what they fought for.
Each student was paired with a member of the community to go around to the grave sites and lay the stones. Many community members took the time to talk to the students about what they are doing and what it means.
Some veterans where present and were ale to explain to the children about the the different areas of military based on what was written on some headstones.
“I really hope the kids gain an appreciation for Remembrance Day and understand why it is a special and solemn day,” Cardinal said.
Cardinal continued to explain the program was important because the current generation of students is so far removed for war and conflict that they don’t really understand what it means.
“These kids, they are nine-years-old and they don’t really know what war is. They don’t have close family or friends connected to something like this.”
The program also included a mini Remembrance Day ceremony where In Flanders Fields was recited, the Last Post was played and a moment of silence was held.
Cardinal said she is grateful for the support she has received in doing this project with her students.
Before the students arrived at the cemetery members of the Sylvan Lake Legion placed crosses along the graves of the veterans, to help the students and volunteers find them amongst the gravestones.
“I am so grateful to the Legion and the Town, they have been so supportive and helpful… I really don’t think this would have been as successful without the support,” Cardinal said.