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Uxbridge students keeping local veterans connected

UXBRIDGE: Students at Uxbridge Secondary School are staying connected with veterans even outside of school hours. The Sam Sharpe Club at Uxbridge Secondary School actively promotes remembrance by leading remembrance related activities, said the club’s organizer, Tish MacDonald. “Through Sam Sharpe Club we hope to facilitate the continued action of remembrance in our school and community,” she shared. The Veteran Outreach Program is the club’s most recent program. It involves fifteen students and 23 local veterans. Apart from this specific program, Ms. Macdonald said there are several students who have maintained friendly relationships with veterans over the years. For example, a student who attended the 2017 Vimy Ridge trip, through the club, has stayed connected with one of the veterans, named Jack MacQuarrie. While the Sam Sharpe Club has been around since 2009, the outreach program is a recently added program. They started the program because of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Students in the program connect with veterans who are living in the area. According to Ms. MacDonald, students have connected with the veterans by sending letters, cards and phone calls. The club also held a Victory Tea initiative, marking the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day. Students have hosted and facilitated multiple events over their 2019 school year, like multiple veteran luncheons and special military medal presentations. Ms. Macdonald explained the club students are called “Vimy Kids”. The club was officially named the Sam Sharpe Club in 2015. They chose the name in honour of former Uxbridge Secondary School student, Lt. Col Samuel Simpson Sharpe. Ms. MacDonald said Col. Sharpe “raised the 116th Battalion out of Uxbridge and surrounding areas” during the First World War.

She shared that students have developed meaningful relationships with some veterans who are involved with the school’s club. “It is through this relationship, that our students will continue to act as torchbearers for remembrance.” One student, a Grade 9 student named Hannah Matresky, said the Sam Sharpe Club keeps students engaged in school, while thanking veterans for what they have done and continue to do. “[The] Sam Sharpe Club truly gives me a wonderful purpose in my community and helps me learn more every day.” Members of the club are usually students who have participated in the school’s Remembrance Tours in Europe. The Remembrance Tours are school trips where students travel to places in Europe that have wartime significance to Canadians. Countries in Europe the Sam Sharpe Club have traveled to are France, Belgium and the Netherlands. During the trip, participants pay tribute to Canadians who have lost their lives during the first and second world war. “We experience history as we connect with the stories of the First World War veterans and listen to the stories of Second World War veterans,” stated Ms. MacDonald.

Uxbridge students keeping local veterans connected

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