Student off to Europe after win

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March 29, 2016 6:00 AM

Sergeant-at-arms for the Royal Canadian Legion Lloydminster branch, Rick Mallett, loads up Holy Rosary student, Leah Boyer, with Saskatchewan swag to bring on her trip to Europe as part of the Vimy Pilgrimage Award for Outstanding Leadership she recently won.

Outstanding service, positive contributions, notable deeds, bravery or leadership.
According to canadahistory.ca, these are the criteria Canadian students have to meet to be eligible for the Vimy Pilgrimage Award for Outstanding Leadership, which one Lloydminster student recently won.
The award is only presented to 20 students per year and Border City’s Leah Boyer of Holy Rosary High School secured a spot on that list with her motivational letter that outlined why and how she meets the above criteria. 
“Basically we just had to write a letter about how we are leaders locally and nationally and they chose us from our submission,” Boyer said after a meeting at the Lloydminster Royal Canadian Legion Branch 39 last week.
Boyer was invited by Legion members to share about her win in front of family, friends and supporters and she talked about what she’ll be doing on the trip to Europe that came as part of the award.
She’s also the only winner this year from her home province and is looking forward to representing the “land of the living skies” while on her week long adventure.
“I’m just really honoured; it’s a great experience being the only one from Saskatchewan and it’s neat being able to showcase both Saskatchewan and also learn a lot and bring that back to where I’m from,” she said.
The program is fully funded for winners of the award and will see students heading to Belgium and France to learn about Canada’s efforts in the First World War.
Boyer and co. will be overseas from April 3 to 11 visiting battle sites and picking up historical knowledge to bring home and share with their peers.
She said she was equal parts shocked and excited when she heard the news of her win and is honoured to learn first hand about something she yet to learn much about.
“It’s not something a lot of youth get the opportunity to do and so I’m humbled by that and just also meeting like-minded peers,” Boyer said, adding it’s important for young people to learn about the past.
“I think because we’re the youth, we’re the future, so in order for the legacy to carry on, we need to know about it.”
Al Hemingway, District 3 commander of the Royal Canadian Legion, was among those in attendance and commented on the prestige of the Vimy Pilgrimage Award.
He said the Vimy Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to the memory of Canada’s efforts in the First World War, which are responsible for putting the country on the world stage.
Hemingway said Boyer and the other recipients on the trip can expect to be humbled by the experience and from learning about the efforts that were made by Canada’s troops.
“World War One kind of made Canada the country that it is—it set us up on the world stage — before that we were one of the British colonies, but we emerged during First World War, namely at the battle of Vimy Ridge, as our own entity and from that point forward Canada has been a leader on the world stage,” Hemingway said.
Also in attendance for Boyer’s event at the Legion was Mayor Rob Saunders, who commented on how exciting it is for a Lloydminster student to win the exclusive award.
As far as Saunders is aware, she is the first Border City youth to receive the accolade, marking a milestone not just for Boyer, but for all of Lloydminster.
“I think the importance of the development of this award was to give the opportunity to young people to bring back the education they had visiting the sites in Europe and bring back the understanding and the importance of the history that Vimy Ridge gives all of us,” said Saunders.
“It’s very significant because she’s only one of 20 people that is selected in the country and the only Saskatchewanite that is being awarded with this opportunity, so we are very proud of Leah and the community is fully behind her.”

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