In a normal year, the Royal Canadian Legion wouldn’t be talking about its Remembrance Day poster and literacy contests at this point, but this has been anything but a normal year. That being the case, getting the jump on things a little earlier just makes sense, says Elmira’s Richard Clausi, especially given the disruptions in the school system.
“It’s an opportunity for kids to remember. We have members of the armed forces who have been out there in the floods, in the ice storms, and even right now in the long-term care centers – our armed forces are there,” said Clausi, a retired school teacher who knows a thing or two about students and the Legion’s contests.
“Last year we had over 360 entries from our schools – I taught in the Elmira high school for over 37 years and it was always a very special event. We would have representatives from local Legions come in and they would lay a wreath – last year towards the end of my career we moved to a radio Remembrance – they didn’t have television so they had radio commemoration, it was over the P.A. system,” said Clausi discussing his last Remembrance Day working as a teacher.
The contests engage the artistic talents of school kids in Grades 1 through 12 as an educational exercise in conjunction with Remembrance Day. As the not-at-all-usual school year wraps up, Clausi notes the regular lines of communications with students haven’t been open.
Over the summer, anyone 18 and younger is given the opportunity to learn about a veteran or current armed forces member, getting more insight into the past or present so they can create something unique to enter ahead of Remembrance Day, he explained.
“We are so very fortunate in this country, but sometimes we forget that.”
That’s why members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 469 in Elmira are reaching out to the community to invite students to enter the 2021 Remembrance Day contests. Clausi notes they hope to give students and children a creative outlet during these difficult times.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the legacy of our armed forces and the Royal Canadian Legion,” he said.
“Our armed forces are by no means inactive – they’re out there working for people, they’re serving the country and they’re also serving on the domestic front, too. This is a way to give gratitude.”
The contests are divided into four categories: senior (Grades 10, 11, 12), intermediate (Grades 7, 8, 9), junior (Grades 4, 5, 6) and primary (Grades 1, 2, 3 – poster contest only). The poster contest is divided into two categories: colour and black and white. The literary contest is divided into two categories: essay and poem. Entries are submitted at the branch level and winning entries proceed to the provincial and then national level. More information can be found online.