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A Remembrance Day tradition continues at Shaughnessy Elementary

| Categories: Indigenous, Events & Celebrations, Our People, Arts

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For the past eight years, Carla Pace and her grade 5 class at Shaughnessy Elementary have placed thousands of handmade poppies and feathers across the Vancouver City Hall lawn to honour and remember those who have served and continue to serve our country. In her final year of teaching before retirement, Pace writes about the significance of this annual Remembrance Day tradition at Shaughnessy:

Over the years, our goal has been to fill the whole block at City Hall. The poppies and feathers are all handmade by my grade 5 students using duct-tape and plastic tablecloths. There are red feathers to acknowledge Indigenous veterans and orange feathers to honour those who survived residential schools.

While this is an annual tradition for my class at Shaughnessy, adding the poppies and feathers to the installation has provided more learning opportunities in the classroom year-round. Adding new feathers, such as the orange feathers has taught us more about Indigenous peoples, their contributions to the war effort, and how we can move towards reconciliation.

Each year we add something new to the installation. Last year, we added purple poppies which represent animal victims that died in the first World War. This year, we incorporated yellow and blue sunflowers to show support for Ukraine.

This installation project is a wonderful way for students to honour and remember veterans for Remembrance Day. I hope that our learning will continue to resonate with them throughout their lives. It's been wonderful to see students engage in creating and building a collection of over 6,000 poppies that cover the entire lawn at City Hall. It has also been a privilege to meet several Indigenous veterans and hear their stories. As I retire next year, I hope this tradition will continue for students as it is such a meaningful activity.

As people walk by the installation, I hope that they take a moment to pause, reflect, and remember those who served and continue to serve our country. Lest we forget.

Check out the media coverage captured by City News Vancouver:

Colourful poppies adorn Vancouver City Hall grounds for Remembrance Day 

Photography credit: Shaughnessy parent, Henry Cheng

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