Friday, Nov. 17, 2023
Parry Sound High School students to embark on a trip through history
A group of Parry Sound High School (PSHS) students and staff are preparing for a once in a lifetime trip to Italy next year.
Thirty-eight students and six staff will travel through history in Italy visiting important site in Western history and culture ranging from the Roman Empire, the Renaissance and the Second World War. The trip takes place from May 10-20, 2024.
The Second World War and the role of Canadian soldiers in the Italian campaign represents a significant part of the trip. One of the destinations students will visit is the site of the Battle of Ortana which was the most difficult battle for Canadians in Italy and saw more than 2,300 Canadian casualties.
The trip will also visit the Moro River Canadian War Cemetery. Each student researched the service file of a local WWII soldier killed, and then will visit the grave of that specific soldier in Moro River Cemetery.
PSHS history teacher Richard Lund said, “One of the most important aspects of our trip is remembrance. We want to honour the sacrifices made by more than a million Canadians who joined the military during WWII. When we visit Moro River Canadian War Cemetery, we will perform a last post ceremony, during which students will read the names of all the local veterans killed in WWII.”
As part of PSHS’s community remembrance project students are participating in a program called Homes of Heroes.
“Our Italy trip students have researched the 74 local veterans killed in WWII and have managed to find the addresses in town where 30 of them lived before the war,” Lund said. “Students are designing lawn signs to identify each of these veterans and where they lived. With the co-operation of property owners, our school intends to put up these lawn signs next November at each of the addresses where a WWII veteran lived. Our goal is to help people see personal connections between themselves and our local veterans.”
The trip has been financially supported through the generosity of community partners Rotary Club and Goodfellows Masonic Lodge, and a community remembrance project supported by Museum on Tower Hill, Town of Parry Sound, Downtown Business Association and Legion Branch 117.
Other fundraising contributions were made by 24 local Parry Sound businesses that donated to a silent auction which was held during a fundraising dinner last month at PSHS.
More than 200 guests attended the dinner at the PSHS cafeteria which was catered by hospitality teacher Blair Cousins and his students. The dinner and auctions raise over $6,500 to help offset the students’ trip costs.
In addition to the WWII sites, the trip will also visit the canal city of Venice and the famous Renaissance city of Florence. Students will get a first-hand look at ancient history when they visit the restored city of Pompeii which was famously destroyed by the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The trip will conclude in the city of Rome where students will tour famous sites such as the Roman Forum, Coliseum and the Vatican.
“None of this could happen without community support and we have been blessed with a great deal of it since our first trip in 2012,” Lund said. “I am fortunate to be able to witness the remarkable, lasting, deeply positive impact these trips have on our students, in so many different ways. In fact, years later, students and parents tell us this, whenever we run into them in town.”