An autumn harvest and day of thanks at Jeanne-Lajoie
Samuel Dunne holding up a couple handfuls of potatoes that were harvested from Jeanne-Lajoie's garden and will be among the collection donated to the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul to be used at their soup kitchen in Pembroke.
Jeanne-Lajoie Elementary students travelled back in time to re-enact a Canadian Thanksgiving of days gone by.
On Oct. 5, Jeanne-Lajoie Elementary School’s garden was beautifully transformed to reflect a typical pilgrim Thanksgiving and autumn harvest from decades past.
Grade 2 and 3 students form Madame Veronique Deslauriers and Madame Nadine Guatto’s classes teamed up to perform the improved re-enactment.
The girls were dressed in robes, blouses, skirts, hats and bonnets; while the boys were dressed in trousers, plaid or button-up shirts with suspenders and work caps.
The young actors and actresses lived out the historic vignettes as they demonstrated typical trades and skills that the villagers would be involved with.
Some were busy tending to the garden while others were harvesting, some were washing linens or knitting clothes, others were fishing or chopping wood, a few were enjoying a tea party and some were putting their carpentry skills to use.
“We wanted to create an old village that showcased how they were working hard all summer and how they wanted to get ready for the winter and it was important for them to have a good autumn harvest,” said Guatto.
The theatrical re-enactment was followed up by a beautiful Thanksgiving ceremony which took place in front of the school, and all elementary classes were invited to attend. The ceremony was organized by the Pastoral Committee and hosted by Madame Luwana Mercer and Father Smith from Saint-Jean-Baptiste Parish.
“We'll give them a basket as a symbol of the harvest and then they're all going to walk up there to the cross, and while they're walking they're also looking at the scenery,” said Guatto.
By the end of the day, the students and teachers had completed their autumn harvest and had collected several pounds of potatoes from the garden which will be donated to Society of Saint Vincent de Paul.
“We’re a catholic organization and we operate a soup kitchen out of St. Columbkille Cathedral in Pembroke three days a week,” said Marilyn Lee, volunteer with Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. “We are very grateful to have been chosen by the school and it's wonderful that they're involving children at a very young age so they can learn these life skills.
Guatto expressed that it’s thanks to CPAN’s Good EGG program that they were able to build the garden three years ago, which has now provided numerous benefits to the school and the community – by teaching the students about the importance of healthy eating and giving back to the community.