Penticton students mark solemn event

Princess Margaret students will plant white crosses at Skaha Lake Park in Remembrance Day ceremony on Friday

Princess Margaret Grade 12 student Dana Klamut has organized an unique

Princess Margaret Grade 12 student Dana Klamut has organized an unique

Dozens of white crosses planted in the sand at the Skaha Lake Park beach will set a sombre tone for a Penticton school’s Remembrance Day ceremony.

Those grim markers will greet about 600 students from Princess Margaret Secondary who will walk down to the lake Friday morning for a stripped-down waterfront service.

Organizer Dana Klamut, a Grade 12 student, said some Remembrance Day ceremonies rely too heavily on technology to keep attendees entertained, which actually distracts from the message.

“So we wanted to keep it more simple and heartfelt with less distractions, so you can really focus on what it means to you, not just be entertained,” Klamut explained.

The ceremony will be hosted by students and rely only on “minimum technology” required for sound amplification, she said, adding that it will go rain or shine to remind people that soldiers “didn’t fight in air-conditioned gyms.”

And the event isn’t just for students.

“We’d like to have the public involved so they can see how Remembrance Day affects us (young people), that it’s not just a routine ceremony,” Klamut said. “If you just let it become a routine then it doesn’t have a message or an impact anymore.”

The 17-year-old said she has always had a keen interest in Remembrance Day since one of her grandfathers fought in the Second World War, but the occasion has taken on increased importance for her since his death.

Belle Grant, 14, has also been moved by Remembrance Day, so much so that she wrote a song she’ll perform at Friday’s service.

Grant, a Grade 9 student at Princess Margaret, said she wrote Hometown Hero to honour military families who have watched loved ones go off to war.

“It’s sad, but (soldiers) did it for the right reasons,” Grant said.

She will perform the song with the help of her 11-year-old sister Grace. The duo, known as Soul Sisters, will also sing at the city’s larger event on Sunday.

Klamut said her ceremony should last only about 20 minutes and will also feature a reading of In Flanders Fields and a short speech from a student. Afterwards, attendees will be given a maple leaf to place into the lake.

Members of the public who wish to attend the service should meet just before 11:30 a.m. at the Skaha Lake Park boat launch.