A group of students and staff from Delta Secondary will be a part of history in April with a trip to Vimy Ridge to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Canada's military victory. The trip is through Education First tours with the focus being attending the anniversary ceremony alongside thousands of other students from across Canada.
In addition, students will also be visiting two Canadian cemeteries and the Auschwitz extermination camp.
In total, 42 students and six staff members will make the trip April 6 to 20.
This will mark a return to Europe for social studies teacher John Powell who was part of the last school trip in 2010.
"It was a rewarding experience to look at history and it opened up a lot of eyes on the sacrifices that so many people made," said Powell. "I was not planning on doing this again, but when I found out about the 100th anniversary of what is probably the most famous battle and victory in Canadian military history, we decided we wanted to be a part of this."
The students have many different reasons for going. For most it will be their first time travelling to Europe, so that in itself is exciting, but learning about the culture and history at such a significant event will be something else.
"When it came to this trip I was a bit cautious at first, but after thinking about it I realized the weeks that I would miss in school would be nothing compared to actually experiencing this on the 100th anniversary where I would see not only figures who will be famous throughout history, but monuments that will never or should never disappear," said student Harmony Powell.
For student Liam Ducasse, it's a chance to trace his family roots.
"My great, great grandfather went over the top on Vimy Ridge and was part of the final push when they finally took the hill, so it's finding out more about what he fought for," said Ducasse. "It's significant because I get to see what he and what Canada was fighting for."
Megan Moorehead said she thinks it will be such a different way to experience Europe with a dedicated tour guide and your peers. "I think we will get so much more out of it when they explain the different details about the history. I never thought that I would be able to go to Europe any time soon, so to be able to see Europe in this way and see how Canadians have impacted that part of the world in such a profound way is going to be really amazing," she said.
The students and a dedicated group of parents have been actively fundraising for the trip with pizza and samosa sales, a clothing drive, and a recent meat draw and pub night fundraiser at The Landing Pub.
"We have been overwhelmed by the support from the community," said parent Danielle Caldwell.
South Delta Secondary students and staff will also be making the trip.
Powell said in early March the plan is to invite the students and parents from South Delta to Delta Secondary for a meet and greet.