Having authentic learning experiences is something RancheView School prides itself on.

On Thursday (June 7) grade 5 and 7 students were privy to the swearing in of 56 new Canadian citizens, thanks to an initiative brought forward by Bill Belsey who teaches Social Studies.

Belsey shares with Canadian studies being a big part of the grade 5 and 6 curriculum he thought what better experience than to host a citizenship ceremony. "I asked my students if they thought we should apply to the Canadian government for the honour of hosting an actual citizenship ceremony and the kids were very enthusiastic about it, as was the principal. So we put forward an application to the Government of Canada Immigration Department and they came out to meet the kids, and myself and tour the school to see if it would be suitable and they were impressed."

The department took a look at all the applications from places wishing to host a ceremony and when RancheView was picked, the students were told in person. Belsey used the opportunity as a great learning experience for the students. "They did a lot of homework. I got copies of the booklet that new Canadians use to study and then I created a test based on the information that was in the booklet. The kids actually worked their way through their version of the test and so they were pretty well versed in all the aspects of what it means to be a Canadian."

In some cases, it took five years for the new citizens who originated from countries such as Syria, Egypt, England, Iran and South Africa to be sworn in officially as Canadians. "Our kids, for the most part, are born in Canada and so there are a lot of things that we as Canadians take for granted and part of the reason for holding the ceremony is I didn't want the kids to take being Canadian for granted in any way. By holding the Citizenship Ceremony they could see on the faces of those who chose Canada as their new home how important it was to them and all the sacrifices they made to make the change in their lives."

New Canadian, Usman Vahidy shares he had been waiting a long time. "I landed here in August 2008, it's been almost ten years and it has been a very wonderful ten years and a very blessed ten years, and it feels amazing... I am very grateful."

Vahidy, who now calls Calgary home, was born and raised in Saudi Arabia before being encouraged by Abdul Shah to come to Canada. "I landed in Kamloops, BC and worked in Kamloops and Fort St. John, BC before coming to Calgary."

For Vahidy, becoming an official Canadian means a lot. "It gives me a sense of belonging; I feel like I belong already but this just makes it official more than anything. I look forward to contributing more, voting and being more part of the community going forward."

The students who took part in the ceremony were pretty blown away, says Belsey, and had their eyes opened. "They had a chance to talk to some of the new Canadians and while the didn't divulge everything, they certainly let the kids know that some of them had come from some pretty bad situations and to be able to have Canada as their new home meant everything to them."

Belsey told the students something his father shared with him long ago. "He said Bill, you know you've won the lottery. And, I said what dad, what do you mean? We're not a wealthy family...and he said no you don't understand, you were born Canadian. I repeated that same thing with my own students; I wanted them to have an appreciation for how incredibly lucky they are. They were fortunate enough, as my dad would say, to win the lottery and be Canadian and so I hope they take that away."

More Local News

Road Rage Incident Leaves One Woman With Minor Injuries

A road rage incident that occurred last week (January 10) has Cochrane RCMP on the hunt for a male suspect. Constable Kary Moore with Cochrane RCMP, states a black 2018 GMC Sierra that was stopped at…

UPDATE: Fire Ban is Lifted

While we may not be experiencing the type of weather suitable to sit around the backyard fire pit, the fire ban that is currently in effect will be lifted as of noon today (January 17). Thanks to all…

White Paper Warns of Hazard of Cochrane Pipeline Corridor

PipeFX Limited president Alan Goddard questions if it’s worth the risk to add another pipeline to a corridor that runs north to south through Cochrane and suggests this could be the right time to…

New Year, New Recruits, and New Opportunities for Cochrane Search and Rescue

With January 1st being the first day of a new annual cycle for Cochrane Search and Rescue (CSAR), we thought it would be a good idea to catch up with the non-profit organization. Bill Erickson,…

Dense Fog Could Affect Your Morning Commute

A fog advisory for the Cochrane area was put into effect at 8:21 pm this evening (January 15). Environment Canada issued the weather statement due to visibility currently nearing zero in some areas…

Ninety-Two Businesses Help Make Fire Safety Info Accessible to Youth

Thanks to sponsorship from numerous Cochrane businesses, youth ages 7 to 12 will learn valuable information regarding fire safety thanks to a book put out by Community Safety Net. The coiled handbook…

No Shortlist Finalized Yet to Name New Bridge

What started out as a tight timeline for the naming of the new Bow River crossing has gone into slo-mo. Town council's decision on what will be the final three potential names for the new bridge has…

Town Relying on Supplementary Assessment to Make Budget Target

The town is relying upon its supplementary assessment to reach the four per cent growth target used for the 2019 municipal budget. A report presented to council tonight, Jan. 14, by Gail Butz, the…

CHAPS Photo Archives Open for Viewing Wednesday

With a population now surpassing 29,000, it may be hard to imagine the humble beginnings of Cochrane as a small community along the CP Rail mainline. Thanks to CHAPS, you'll be able to take a glimpse…

Kilt Up: Cochrane Pipe Band Celebrates 20 Years

The Cochrane Pipe Band is gearing up to celebrate its 20th anniversary at their annual Robbie Burns event this Saturday evening (January 19). A packed house of partygoers will gather at the Cochrane…

CochraneNow.com is Cochrane's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Search the Biz Guide

Login