This week, the two campuses each held a Remembrance Day service in honour of the many people across the world, past and present, affected by war. Parents and alumni joined students, staff and faculty in ceremonies filled with music, hymns and reflections.
On Wednesday at the Junior School, the Grade 8 strings students performed music from J.S. Bach, who attended St. Michael’s School in Lüneburg. The Grade 2 students recited the poem “In Flanders Fields” and the Grade 5 students sang “Ordinary Miracle” from Charlotte’s Web, which expresses amazement at everyday life.
On a more sombre note, Alex Caton and Ann Makosinski read “The Story of Sadako,” the real-life account of a Japanese girl who developed leukemia as a result of the atom bomb that fell when she was two. Sadako folded over 1000 paper cranes before her death at the age of 12, and the cranes have become a symbol of peace around the world.
At the Senior School, the Middle and Senior School students, along with the Grade 5 class, came together with faculty and parents for a large service in the double gym. Reverend Fletcher was the first to speak about the significance of Remembrance Day, stressing that it’s not about remembering heroes or victories, but remembering the dead. “We stop today so we can remember them together,” he said.
Psalm 23 was sung beautifully by Andy Erasmus and Benjamin Schaan, before the Grade 8 Choir led everyone in “Go Now in Peace.” Seven drama students also acted out readings from several works of literature dealing with war, death and loss.
Head of School Bob Snowden gave the traditional reading of R.V. Harvey’s letter. Harvey, one of the founders of University School, wrote the letter to his students in August, 1914 after he had enlisted to go to France. In the letter, Captain Harvey describes his desire to represent Canada overseas, and to make his country proud, just as he hoped his students would make the school proud in his absence.
Captain Harvey did not return to Canada, like many other members of St. Michael’s and University School that fought in WWI and WWII, who were specially honoured by everyone in attendance. After wreaths were laid in memory of all who were lost to war, the students, staff, faculty and parents joined together for a long moment of silence.