EMMA RUNNALLS Special to The Standard
It has been almost 2 weeks since The Samuel S Sharpe Gala took place at Uxbridge Secondary School! The event was a great success and was definitely a memorable evening. The night was packed with special guest speakers like Member of Parliament Erin O'Toole, live music, and fantastic culinary works from our very own Food School. Guests were welcomed to the Gala by students dressed in officer uniforms and then they were ushered through a trench in the front entrance of the school. The foyer had been meticulously decorated by students with burlap, recruitment posters, and bunting and the library was set up to display artifacts that had been generously lent to the school for exhibition. The cafeteria had been transformed into a beautiful dining room where guests were able to listen to the program and enjoy the delicious meal. The silent auction was also a massive success with great prizes like lunch with actor Eugene Levy up for grabs! Overall, the Gala was an amazing night that wouldn't have been possible without our generous sponsors, staff, students, and guests. Thanks to everyone who helped make the event a success!
My name is Emma Runnalls and I am a Grade Ten student at USS. I had the honour of working alongside 53 other students who are heading to France and Belgium next year for the Vimy Ridge 100th Anniversary events. We had organized the night as a fundraiser for the trip and also as a way to commemorate the significant contribution of Lieutenant Colonel Sam Sharpe and other members of the 116th Battalion. As we prepared for the Gala many students were able to discover the stories of former Uxbridge High School students who left school to fight for king and country. The entire experience was eye opening; these young men had walked the same hallways that we do now and many were barely older than we are. They left the comfort and security of home to go fight in some of the most famous and deadly battles in history like Ypres, Passchendaele, and of course Vimy Ridge. The Gala was just the first of many opportunities students will have to learn more about Uxbridge's contribution to both the First and Second World War and to honour our veterans before we head off to Europe next April. I will be writing a few blog posts for the Standard to cover all of our endeavors leading up to the pilgrimage and of course I will be sharing the details of the trip as well. The Gala was a great way to build excitement among students for the upcoming trip and I personally can't wait!
Emma Runnalls Special to The Standard
UXBRIDGE: On Saturday April 16th, the Vimy 100 students at Uxbridge Secondary School hosted The Samuel S. Sharpe Gala. The Gala served as a fundraiser for students travelling to France for the Vimy 100th Anniversary Commemoration and was a chance to recognize and highlight the outstanding contribution of Lt. Col. Sam Sharpe, other former Uxbridge High School students, and the 116th Battalion in the First World War. The students transformed the school into an authentic representation of the wartime era with burlap, recruitment posters, and other vintage decorations. The amount of preparation put into the event was very clear.
The night was a huge success and featured historic exhibits, both created by the Vimy travellers, and on loan from community supporters; a silent auction; live bands performing period songs; appetizers, and a delicious buffet dinner prepared by the USS Food School. The programme itself was incredible and featured videos, music, and of course stories about Sam Sharpe and the impact he had on Uxbridge. The programme featured students dressed First World War and nurses’ outfits who recounted the stories of local people involved in the Great War and Historian Ted Barris, Durham MP and local artist Wynn Walters also spoke. Tyler Briley, the sculptor who created the Sam Sharpe relief soon going to Parliament Hill had the relief on hand; and Wynn Walters unveiled his proposed sculpture of Sam Sharpe. The evening finished with dancing to the Big Band music of Hot Air.
Gala guests including the Honorary Colonel of the Ontario Regiment, and two active members of the Regiment (Sam’s former Regiment) were very impressed by the amount of work students had put into the Gala from the great silent auction items available (like lunch with actor Eugene Levy) to the décor created including an incredible 8 foot painting of Sam Sharpe painted by grade 12 student, Ethan Goldsmith; an amazing life size trench in the foyer of the school built by volunteers and students, and vintage cars.
The Samuel S. Sharpe Gala would not have been possible without our generous donors, sponsors, volunteers, those who provided items for the exhibits, our wonderful guests, and the school staff. Thanks so much for your many contributions to support the students of Uxbridge Secondary School.