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Winnipeg students, originally from 53 different countries, pay tribute to Canadian troops for Valentine’s Day

680 CJOB's Julie Buckingham with students from Ecole Bonnycastle School.
680 CJOB's Julie Buckingham with students from Ecole Bonnycastle School. Richard Cloutier / Global News

Elementary students at a Winnipeg school are showing their appreciation for Canadian soldiers and peacekeepers by sending Valentine’s Day cards to troops who are deployed away from their families.

The campaign, spearheaded by Ecole R.H.G. Bonnycastle School’s librarian, reflects the experience of many of the school’s students, who hail from 53 different countries.

Principal Caterina Romeo-Mzakar said many of those students have come to Canada as refugees escaping dangerous circumstances.

Winnipeg students pay tribute to Canadian troops for Valentine’s Day
Winnipeg students pay tribute to Canadian troops for Valentine’s Day

“We have prisoners who have escaped from ISIS here,” Romeo-Mzakar told 680 CJOB. “Syrians, Yazidis — their culture and area has been destroyed.

“They are very, very lucky to be with someone like (librarian Ty) Fillion, who celebrates who they are … we show love every day in different ways, and so Valentine’s Day is just one day, but we symbolically do it every day.”

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READ MORE: Former refugee draws from own experience to help others

Fillion said a lot of the kids she teaches couldn’t have made it to Canada without the efforts of peacekeepers, and they’re grateful to be living in a safe place and feel protected in this country.

“I think the families feel it too. It’s more than just the school — it’s a big culture, a big community. We have our families in here all the time volunteering and visiting because they feel safe.

“They’re so excited that their children get to go to school, be educated. They know that they’re safe when they drop them off; they can pick them up at the end of the day and hear beautiful stories of friendship and learning.

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“That’s thanks to the peacekeepers around the world.”

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Translator for Yazidi family says it’s an ‘honour’ to take part in such a special moment
Translator for Yazidi family says it’s an ‘honour’ to take part in such a special moment