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When 12 439 Poppies Mean So Much More

November 8, 2016

Over the past month, hundreds and hundreds of students and adults from across the Louis Riel School Division have been making poppies to contribute to an art installation entitled, "The Blanket of Remembrance."  Inspired by a massive installation of over 800 000 ceramic poppies at the Tower of London to honour the fallen during World War I, the tracing, cutting, twisting and assembling of thousands of "waterproof" poppies represents only a small fraction of what this Divisional project has been all about.

So, what does a wire mesh blanket, woven with 12 439 poppies cascading down it and onto the ground... and then suspended from the roof at the Louis Riel School Division Board Office, really look like?​

 

  • It looks like older student buddies helping younger student buddies make a poppy;
  • It looks like classes of 25 or fewer students making hundreds and hundreds of poppies -- just so that the original goal of 10 000 could be reached;
  • It looks like entire schools taking on the challenge and designating a day (or more) to making poppies together -- sort of like a poppy-making factory;
  • It looks like students from our SLP, IPSA and STEP programs contributing to the collection;
  • It looks like Family Centres, Leadership Councils, Student Councils, Gay/Straight Alliances, Art groups and many other school-based groups making poppies together; 
  • It looks like Educational Assistants, school secretaries, custodians, Board Office staff and a Rangers troop making hundreds of poppies, each one with a smile and feeling of camaraderie attached;
  • It looks like parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins adding their poppy contributions;
  • It looks like 250 students from various schools descending on the Board Office to weave all the poppies onto the blanket;
  • It looks like staff members staying late after work, or coming on the weekend, to make sure the project was ready for installation;
  • It looks like thousands of people talking about Remembrance Day and all that it means during class time and beyond.
  • It looks like community members stopping to take pictures of the blanket and then going home to share them with other family and friends;
  • It looks like motorists turning their heads as they drive by and taking a brief moment to realise that this week is an important one in our collective history...

 

But most of all, it looks like a Divisional family of over 14 000 students, 2000 staff and many thousands and thousands of community members who all know that we are lucky to live where we do...working together with a common vision in mind...and knowing that by talking and sharing our individual stories about bravery, respect, sacrifice and honour, we are all stronger and better able to be the good citizens the world needs us to be.

The Blanket of Remembrance will hang outside the Board Office at 900 St. Mary's Road, hopefully until the end of November, weather permitting.  Please come have a look.  It is something for which we should all be truly proud.

Lest We Forget.  Nous nous souviendrons.

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