100 Words for Vimy Ridge- Making History Relevant Through Creativity
As far as I could see, south, north along the miles of the Ridge, there were the Canadians. And I experienced my first sense of nationhood.
-Lieutenant Gregory Clark on The Battle of Vimy Ridge
As the international community enters the start of the World War One centennial, we stand on the brink of a tremendous learning opportunity. Anniversaries are unique pockets in time when people are in prime position to reflect on what has passed and what is to come. The legacy from the First World War is the collective heritage of all countries affected by the cataclysmic violence of 1914-18.
For Canada, the Battle of Arras and the capture of Vimy Ridge in April, 1917 was in many ways the birth of its nationhood, a pivotal moment in the country’s development. Yet according to a recent poll, less than half of Canadians could correctly identify which war the Battle of Vimy Ridge was fought. As we approach the hundredth anniversary of this critical watershed moment, we have a responsibility to educate the next generation about how important Vimy Ridge was for the freedom we enjoy today.
A wonderful method to facilitate a meaningful reflection experience is through creative writing. To help honour and educate about the centennial of Vimy Ridge, HOW is calling on students from across Canada to think creatively about what Vimy Ridge means to Canada, 100 Years later. 100 Words for Vimy Ridge is a call to action to put those thoughts to paper in the greatest creative writing contest the country has ever seen, commemorating the battle that made Canada the country it is today.
100 Words for Vimy Ridge is an exciting competition held in schools across Canada. Students are encouraged to write about the legacy of Vimy Ridge and what it means to be Canadian today. Some themes to explore are unity, independence, freedom, remembering, learning from history, war and peace to name a few. The contest runs throughout the four years of the World War One Centennial and the actual writing takes place on each of the next three Vimy Ridge Days, April 9th, culminating on April 9th 2017, the hundredth anniversary of the capture of Vimy.
Each participating school will nominate twenty History and English students (between the ages of 15 and 17) to compete. The students selected are those who are studying World War One in that current school year. The principal of each school will select one winner based on the merit of writing, creativity, historical awareness, and understanding of the legacy of Vimy. Anonymity of entries will ensure fairness in the choosing of the winner. Each of the winning pieces will then be evaluated by a panel of experts in the fields of creative writing, poetry, history and more in a national competition. One hundred winners from across Canada will be selected as national champions.
Winners will participate in commemorative events marking the Vimy centennial, where they will read or perform their pieces to audiences in events connected to remembering Vimy Ridge in 2017, including ceremonies in Ottawa ,and in France at the opening of the new Vimy Information Centre. HOW is actively planning for this centennial today in the hopes of seeing thousands of people take part in the festivities in 2017.
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"Harmony Over War succeeded in its goal of sharing a compelling and important story...Driven by the strength of its performers...The audience definitely enjoyed watching these two men moving towards something greater than they could have imagined... crowd-pleasing play with an important message for its audience" - Mooney on Theatre