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

Dive Into the One Year Celebration

The Jayman Built Aquatic Centre is gearing up for a big splash on Saturday (August 18). Celebrating its one-year anniversary, community members are invited to drop in for a swim, games, and…

Country and City Unite at the Cochrane Fair

This weekend Cochranites can enjoy an action-packed weekend at the Cochrane Fair being hosted at the Cochrane AG Society Park. For six years the Cochrane and District Agricultural Society (CDAS) has…

Expensive Night for Town council, Drop $350,000

Town council opened up the treasury to the tune of $350,000, last night, to shore up infrastructure projects. The expenditures are from town reserves and will not impact the bottom line of the 2018…

McFadden Wants to be on Municipalities Assoc. Board

The Town of Cochrane will be contributing up to $1,500 for Councillor Tara McFadden's campaign to be elected to the board of directors for the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA). After…

British Army Unit Gives Back to the Cochrane Community

Members from the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) presented a cheque to Family Community Support Services (FCSS) staff on Friday (August 10). Major Russ Bailey along with Silent Major…

Being Viewed as a Safe Country is Key

Canada is perceived as a safe country around the world and one in which we need to maintain. News of a German tourist being shot near Morley, twelve days ago, made headlines around the country and…

Black Bear Being Monitored by Fish and Wildlife

Residents should be aware that Fish and Wildlife officers are monitoring the movements of a black bear that was spotted in town on Friday (August 10). Patrick Mears, Communications Advisor with the…

Translated Tours at Glenbow Ranch are a Real Win

A new program offered at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park is proving to be quite successful. This is the first year Glenbow Ranch is offering bilingual interpretive tours and so far so good, shares…

Cochrane and RVC Under Ban

The Town of Cochrane joins the likes of Rocky View County by authorizing a fire ban to take effect tomorrow (August 10) at 9 am. Rocky View County issued their fire ban just before noon today and…

You Will Feel the Love at this Weekend's Music Fest

Christian music lovers will flock to Cochrane this weekend as they get ready for the No Greater Love Music (NGL) Festival. Attendees from across Canada are expected at this weekend's (August 11 and…

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

Search the Biz Guide