By Sydney Allan
For the third year, Muskoka students have created ceramic poppies that are for sale in support of local legions.
Huntsville native Aimée Bulloch-Moore is an art teacher at Gravenhurst High School with a passion for both art and fundraising.
Thanks to the efforts of she and her students, thousands of poppies are worn each fall on the jackets of people in our community.
“Supporting our legions is one of the most important causes to me,” said Bulloch-Moore. “This is one of those fundraisers that resonates with everyone because we can all appreciate the sacrifices that these soldiers made. I feel a huge amount of community togetherness in this project.”
Last year, almost $4,000 was raised. The money goes directly to the Huntsville, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, and Bala legions.
While Bulloch-Moore’s art students play a huge role in both creating and glazing the poppies, the entire school has contributed to the project.
“We are such a tiny school but we still make such a huge impact,” said Bulloch-Moore. “Whether it’s previous events like our Empty Bowls organized by Sue Buckingham or our poppy project, our school is very rooted in community service and raising money. Fostering relationships with the community is fundamental for us.”
She and her co-op students have created kits with all the materials needed to make the poppies as well as an informational video that is sent to teachers ahead of time. Trolleys full of supplies are wheeled to classrooms and when teachers and students have spare time they get to work making poppies.
“Each year I am blown away by our students and what they can create,” said Bulloch-Moore. “Some of them really shine when they participate in this project.”
Each poppy is beautiful and unique. Bulloch-Moore encourages people to buy one every year and start a collection of original, wearable poppy art.
In addition to Gravenhurst High School students, there are a number of other people that have been heavily involved in the project, noted Bulloch-Moore.
Jenn Pfrimmer at Muskoka Seniors reached out about glazing poppies as a team-building event for staff.
Kathryn Sanga from Just Craftin’ Around offered to help ship the poppies to non-local people who still wanted to support the initiative.
“We have had such an overwhelming response. It is so heart-warming. The kids at Gravenhurst High School deserve all the credit,” said Sanga. “Being able to give back even when times are challenging that is what is truly important!”
Sandi Cowan, an educational assistant at GHS, has been a fundamental part of making sure the project goes smoothly.
“Sandi has been absolutely incredible,” said Bulloch-Moore. “She even takes clay home to make extra poppies. She teaches both me and the students and has some really awesome ideas. She is the most wonderful person and never expects any recognition so it’s time we point her out.”
The ceramic poppies can be purchased at the following locations, while supplies last:
- Huntsville – Canvas Brewing Co., Family Place Restaurant, Huntsville Legion, Pub on the Docks;
- Bracebridge – The Annex, Bracebridge Legion, Lilibird; and
- Gravenhurst – Arts at the Albion, Gravenhurst Legion
This year is the 100th anniversary of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance.
According to the Royal Canadian Legion, “Canadian Madame Anna Guérin, later christened ‘The Poppy Lady from France’, inspired by John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields”, had an idea: to adopt the distribution of the poppy on Armistice Day as a way to raise money for veterans’ needs and to remember those who had given their lives during the First World War. In July of 1921, the Great War Veterans’ Association (which in 1925 would unify with other veteran groups to form the Canadian Legion) adopted the poppy as the flower of remembrance.”
The Royal Canadian Legion’s 2021 National Poppy Campaign officially begins on Friday, October 29.
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