Students and teachers of Oakwood Collegiate travel to Juno Beach Centre, France

Earlier this year, 27 Oakwood Collegiate students of French, accompanied by their teachers, travelled to the Normandy area of France. There, they visited the Caen War Memorial, the Juno Beach Centre and the Beny-Sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery.

The visit to the Juno Beach Centre was the highlight of the trip. A short ceremony was held at the monument there where the students presented the centre with our school’s yearbooks (showing the war effort at home) from 1940, 1941 and 1944-45, and pictures of Oakwood’s war memorials. There are no yearbooks for 1942 and 1943 due to the war.

Reading the inscriptions on the commemorative bricks at the Juno Beach Centre reminded the students of the sacrifice made by so many. Through the kind generosity of the Oakwood Collegiate Alumni Association, a commemorative brick will be erected at the centre for the upcoming June 6 ceremonies.

It will read:

Oakwood Collegiate
Toronto, Ontario
We remember your sacrifice.

Students were especially moved by their visit to the Beny-Sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery. There, they laid flowers at the graves of four Oakwood alumni: J.R. Kenmure, Jack Mitchell, Percy Newton and William Shearer. Walking among the graves and reading the inscriptions, especially those of young men "known only to God," brought tears to the eyes of many students. It then began to rain. (An example of pathetic fallacy, we thought.) On behalf of OCI, we signed the book of remembrance. It was a poignant time for all. A few minutes later, as we drove away, to our delight, the most magnificent rainbow appeared in the sky!

The trip was a great success and everyone returned with a deeper understanding and respect for our past.

About this article:

By: Mary Mazzotta
Posted: Jun 3 2004 3:00 am
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto