Echoes from the Past, Stories for the Future

Posted On Tuesday March 17, 2020
R.S. McLaughlin student Dayna Lynn Morreau-Comber (left) asked Second World War Veteran Don White a question while fellow student Mya Kirk (middle) moderated the Echoes Video Conference on March 6th.

R.S. McLaughlin CVI students speak with a Second World War Veteran and students across the globe with Zoom

The Echoes Project 2020 – 75 Years of Liberation is a global project aimed at connecting Durham District School Board (DDSB) youth to the past and present, and with other youth from Canada and the Netherlands.

Run by the organization Global Teenager Project, this history-based project connects schools in Canada with a ‘twin’ school in the Netherlands, and together they complete assignments that delve into the Second World War and the Liberation of the Netherlands using a communal Google Drive.

Anita Townsend, Canadian Coordinator for the Global Teenager Project, says the purpose of this project is to learn from the past and relate that knowledge to the issues of today, “We can honour those who served by remembering their lessons and using that to create a better world in the present and the future.”

From February to April, students will be interviewing local community members connected tothe Second World War, identifying and analyzing primary sources such as letters and photos, discussing what was learned from the war, and finally end by creating a piece of art or a poem to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands.

Hearing Stories from the Past

A Grade 10 History class at R.S. McLaughlin CVI is participating in the project, and on March 6th they were honoured to be joined by Second World War Veteran Don White for the Echoes Video Conference at the school in Oshawa.

White was there to answer student questions and share his experiences and insights with the group. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, the regiment that liberated the Dutch people in Leeuwarden in 1945.

A handful of students in Toronto and Ottawa schools (who are also participating in the project), and the International Coordinator for the Global Teenager Project, Bob Hofman (who was in the Netherlands) were video conferenced in, using a communication technology called Zoom. R.S. McLaughlin CVI’s ‘twin’ school Calvijn Groene Hart in the Netherlands was not available for the video conference due to the time change.

As students from each school and Hofman asked White questions, he spoke about his thoughts on the war, what he did during ‘down time’, and what he hopes future generations will learn from history.

“I’m happy that I was able to do what I did. For the future, I hope people can take a step back and be reasonable. We need to respect each others’ views. We need to take time to get to know what makes other nations different from us, and learn to respect those differences,” White says earnestly.

Making Change for Generations to Come

Grade 11 student Mya Kirk was the moderator of the Echoes Video Conference, and assists in the Grade 10 class as a peer tutor. “The fact that we have the freedom of education to learn about the sacrifices our Canadian soldiers made for us, means we owe it to them to acknowledge and honour them,” explains Kirk. She adds, “With this project, we’re hoping to make change in the world, and to see that change in future generations.”

To learn more about The Echoes Project 2020 – 75 Years of Liberation please visit: