The results of a challenging task undertaken by a panel of volunteer judges were unveiled at the Wetaskiwin Branch 86 Royal Canadian Legion on May 24, 2013. Students from schools in Wetaskiwin and surrounding communities such as Gwynne, Falun and Maskwacis participated in the Legion Literary and Poster Contest by submitting essays, color posters, black and white posters or poems that, “expressed their feelings of what Remembrance Day reflects in their minds using a Canadian Theme.” The winners were recognized during a brief ceremony where they were presented with a certificate, a monetary prize and a great deal of respect and admiration by the Legion, proud parents, teachers and other guests.
The Literary and Poster Contest encourages the students to produce an essay, poem or poster that reflects their feelings about Remembrance Day. The Legions throughout Canada award several hundred thousand dollars each year during this School Student competition. The 1st and 2nd winning entries in the Wetaskiwin competition were recognized for their achievements by having their work forwarded to Alberta/ NWT Command to compete in the Regional and Provincial Levels of Command.
Comrade and WWII veteran, Rod Foster, Wetaskiwin Legion explained, “Each year we encourage all parents, Principals and students of local schools in the Wetaskiwin area to participate in this great program. This year we had 175 entries from 22 local schools including Samson, Ermineskin, Louis Bull and Montana First Nations. We are very glad to see their students here this evening to receive their awards. We thank all those students who have competed during the past years and congratulate the winners in all categories this year.”
“Initial judging takes place at the community level by volunteers at local Legion branches, and the winning entries progress to judging at the provincial level. From here, these entries are forwarded to Ottawa where they are judged and the national winners are then declared. These winning entries, along with the names of the entrants, are then published in the Winners Booklet sent to all branches, available for schools and found below.
Every year the Legion sponsors a trip to Ottawa for the national senior winners in four categories (two poster, essay and poetry) where they attend the National Remembrance Day Service. In addition to placing a wreath on behalf of the youth of Canada, they have an opportunity to meet and visit with the Governor General.”
Comrade Foster stressed the importance of recognizing that the Poppy Fund contributes 100% of the finances to make this Program possible. “All the cash awards come from the Poppy Fund. So when you buy a poppy next year, remember some of that money goes to support youth and the Literary and Poster contest.”
Foster concluded his remarks by advising the audience, “This will be my last year as Chair of the the Legion Education and Publicity Committee but I have enjoyed my many years of working with the schools and students.” He closed his remarks with a grateful thank you to the principals, teachers, and Legion volunteer members for their assistance and support during the hard work required to make this Program a success.