I decided to leave my reflections for the final night, when we returned to Vimy to watch the sunset, until today because I think it offers a fitting end to my blog posts on the program. We handed out Vimy Pilgrimage Medals to each student and gave them the individual recognition they all deserved with a personalized tribute. We even made our bus driver an honourary Canadian and gave him a medal for his outstanding bus driving and willingness to go above and beyond for us the entire tour.
It was quite emotional for all of us, chaperones and students alike, which I think is a testament to how wonderful our students were and how much they appreciated the opportunity. In many ways, we all learned from each other and in the process created lifelong memories, friends, and mentors.
While I hope to have the opportunity to return to the battlefields with another group of high school students one day, my first experience leading a tour with the VPA program this year will always hold a special place in my teaching memories.