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Rockheights middle school students connect with fallen veterans

Victoria News - 5/20/2018

Grade 7 students from Rockheights middle school had an interesting field trip recently; they were at the God's Acre Cemetery in Esquimalt to clean off the headstones of veterans who rest there.

"We like to come down at this time of the year in the spring when the weather is nice to give back to the community," said teacher Sean Rumble. "About a quarter of the students at Rockheights are part of military families, so it's important to us and to the community."

Every year, students read the names and dates on the headstones and find a lot of meaning in reflecting on the fallen military members' lives, he said, especially those youth who have relatives in the cemetery.

"It's just another connection to people that matter," Rumble added.

The cleaning is in preparation for a larger ceremony happening May 31 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the cemetery. The candlelight vigil includes a visit from the new Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin, as well as the ombudsman of Veterans Affairs Canada, Guy Parent.

READ: From the archives: The history of God's Acre and Fort Macaulay

Students interviewed by the News felt it was a worthwhile way to spend their time. "I feel good because we're helping people, making it look pretty and honouring them I guess," said Emily Renaud.