A Ladysmith student is heading to Europe after being chosen over 200 other applicants for the Vimy Pilgrimage Award.
Yaseen Hammoud, 15, is one of 22 winners of the award nationwide and is set to spend 10 days in France and Belgium in April learning about Canada’s contributions during the First World War.
“I’m excited to meet all of the recipients as well as learn about Canadian history that can’t be taught in classrooms,” said Hammoud.
According to Caitlyn Bailey, the executive director of Vimy Foundation, the “educational portion of it is very important, we want students to have a wider and more nuanced view of World War I.”
The award recipients will have the opportunity to visit historical landmarks related to the First World War like the St. Julien Memorial and Vimy Ridge.
“[Learning about] Canadian history regarding Vimy and the First World War is incredibly important as we unfortunately don’t have any veterans who served in the war with us anymore,” said Hammoud. “Now it’s up to the youth to continue to commemorate, and remember the people who served.”
Bailey stated winners are chosen for the award for their voluntary contributions to their community. Hammoud is a member of his local Air Cadets branch, and holds the rank of sergeant. He also volunteers with Cow-op, a non-profit, online marketing collective which provides local, sustainable foods.
The Vimy Foundation is a charity focused on raising awareness of the role Canada played in the First World War, including a victory at Vimy Ridge in April 1917 that the foundation says was “a milestone where Canada came of age and was recognized on the world stage and acts as a symbol of this rich legacy.”
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