Last year, I entered the Royal Canadian Legion poster contest and my drawing was chosen from 7000 entries to be first place in all of Canada. The grand prize was an all-inclusive trip to Ottawa for the Remembrance Day Ceremony. I had no idea it would be this incredible.
We were greeted at the airport by our amazing host Mr. Bill Maxwell of the Royal Canadian Legion. He let us know of the events in the days to follow. There was a private tour of the Parliament building, accommodations at the Chateau Laurier hotel, a wonderful Luncheon and awards ceremony where we met many dignified Legion members and amazing outstanding citizens. We also toured the war museum, in which my drawing is on display in the main lobby. But the highlight of this trip for me was the Ceremony itself.
This was a very emotional year in Ottawa due to the tragedy that occurred at the War Memorial just prior to Nov.11, and the re-dedication of the Memorial by Princess Ann. The ceremony hosted more than 50,000 people.
At left: Princess Ann, accompanied by Royal Canadian Legion Dominion President Tom Eagles, greets the Legion’s youth representatives at the National Remembrance Day ceremonies in Ottawa, Nov. 11. Darynn Bednarczyk of Cranbrook is on the far right. Also pictured is Sarah Jessica Butler (Legion poetry contest winner) and Teegan Martin, Top Army Cadet.
I, along with the colour poster winner (Joo Hee Chung), the poetry and essay winners (Sarah Jessica Butler and Hareem Masroor) and Canada’s top three cadets (David Ficht, Teegan Martin, David Joiner) were centre stage. We were personally introduced and acknowledged by Canada’s highest dignitaries, including the Prime Minister, The Governor General, the Silver Cross Mother, and Princess Anne.
Together, the four winners presented a wreath on behalf of the Youth of Canada. We also had a grand luncheon at Rideau Hall with the Governor General. I was interviewed on live TV by CBC.
I entered this contest several times over the course of my school life, and honestly, this is the best thing I’ve ever been able to do. This time, I drew my grandfather, his medals and recreated his original war photos from World War II. It was such an honor to be chosen as the winner for this National Remembrance Day event.
I highly encourage all kids in school to enter this contest. It’s so worth it, your life will be changed forever. I have to give thanks to all the incredible people that made this happen, especially the Royal Canadian Legion who offers this opportunity to the youth through the schools.
For more on the Royal Canadian Legion contest and this year’s winners, go to:
At the time of the contest, Darynn was in Grade 12 at Mount Baker Secondary School but is now attending the Vancouver Film School