Grade 11 & 12 students at Dinsmore Composite School did a superb job in hosting their school’s Remembrance Day service on Thursday, November 7, but one particularly eye-catching unveiling during the morning events is being called the first of its kind in Canada.
A special banner was revealed during the service by members of the Macrorie Legion Branch #239, including Dean Corbett, Mike Perry, Harold Aitchison, Jade Ballek, and Noreen Andrew. The banner recognizes two Dinsmore students, Savanna Blackwell and Wendy Wang, who claimed provincial medals in the Royal Canadian Legion’s Poster & Literary Contest in 2018. It’s the kind of banner you’d expect to see hanging high above when walking into any high school gym, but in making the presentation, Corbett said it’s an idea that is in all likelihood the first of its kind in Canada.
“Macrorie Legion members were here for the school’s award program for 2018, and we were very gracious to present certificates to the winners who participated in the Legion Literary Contest,” said Dean, speaking to those gathered in the DCS gym for the Remembrance Day service. “It was shortly after this event that an idea developed where our branch would like to do something which, to my knowledge, has never been done in Saskatchewan, and according to our Executive Director at Provincial Command, has never been done in Canada either. After consultation with the Provincial Command, our branch has purchased a banner to be hung in the Dinsmore school to honor the 2018 Saskatchewan provincial medalists in the Royal Canadian Legion Literary Contest. It is with great honor that we present this award to recognize the wonderful achievements of Savanna Blackwell and Wendy Wang from Dinsmore Composite School.”
Blackwell was present for the unveiling ceremony, while Wang was unable to be in attendance. However, Wendy was one of the select few let in on the secret surrounding the banner as she and Principal Ballek posed alongside it.
In addition to the special banner presentation, the school’s indoor cenotaph ceremony coupled with the Remembrance Day service hosted by Dinsmore students was a respectful and dignified event. Serving as MCs were Dailey Wollen and William Norris, while Cole Buchanan and Wyatt Jones served as flag bearers. Following an opening prayer by Diane Schmidt, the reading of the Honour Roll was done by Mason Meyers-Marchuk and Hailley Mann, and by the time all the wreaths had been laid – with introductions by Jesse Thorpe – the front of the gymnasium had become a symbol of remembrance in its own right.
A number of Grade 11 & 12 students gave a presentation on the 75th anniversaries of D-Day and the Italian Campaign, which was followed by Grade 1 & 2 students reading ‘Postcards for Peace’ to soldiers.
The program put together by staff and students was woven in respect, all the while highlighting our world’s desire to never find itself in another catastrophic conflict.
Speaking after the service, Corbett touched further on the creation of the Legion banner for Dinsmore, sharing that it was important to note the achievement of young people who work to help promote the efforts of the Royal Canadian Legion through initiatives such as artwork and literary contests.
“I was talking to Chad Wagner down in Regina and he said, ‘I don’t think any school in Saskatchewan has recognized the provincial winners’, and I said I thought it was about time,” said Dean. “I’ve got nothing against athletics because I’ve played a lot of ball and other sports, but I said we have to recognize the art world and the literary world. He said he didn’t think that anybody had done this across Canada, and I thought we should break new ground.”
The banner now hangs in its new home inside the gym at Dinsmore Composite School.