GFSS student one of only five to win Gunter Award

Connor Hawes is one of five students nation-wide recognized for their outstanding submission to this year’s competition.

Connor Hawes is pictured at this past June's high school graduation ceremonies

by J. Kathleen Thompson

A graduating student of GFSS, Connor Hawes, has won a Colonel Douglas H. Gunter History Award of $1,000. Offered through the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, and open to Grade 12 students across Canada, Hawes is one of five students nation-wide recognized for their outstanding submission to this year’s competition.

Asked to consider how the experience of war has changed someone’s life through text, visual art, audio or video production, Connor’s essay, “Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times,” explores the lasting significance of his grandmother’s experience as a young child in Libya during the Second World War.

Hawes said, “I wasn’t aware of that part of my grandmother’s life until we were standing outside the Parliament Buildings in Victoria one Canada Day, and she was particularly disturbed by the sound of firecrackers and sirens we heard. When she told me that ever since the war she has wanted to run and hide whenever she hears sirens, I knew this was a story that I needed to know more about and that needed to be told.

“Wars are not about the number of people that die, they’re about each individual life that is dramatically affected and forever changed when war erupts in your country and on your street.”

In his essay, Hawes portrays the realities of his Italian grandmother’s family when they were repositioned by Mussolini to Libya (which had been annexed by Italy) in 1937. When the war began, Hawes’ great-grandfather was captured when Italian forces were sent into Egypt, not to be reunited with his family until after the war.

His grandmother (who was only five when the war broke out) and mother found shelter in a hospital and school operated by nuns in Tobruk, where, while surrounded by the daily horrors of war, the regime of order and devotion imposed by the nuns armed them with the fortitude needed to endure the war, and in their case, agonizing uncertainty about her father.

Hawes’ essay traces how his grandmother’s extraordinary for­mative years provided the pluck and strength of mind needed for the challenges ahead, first as an immigrant (her family resettled in Trail, B.C.) and then as a teacher in small rural communities in the Kootenays.

Family mettle is likely behind Hawes’ exceptional accomplishments as a student; this was just one of many scholarships he earned this past spring. He plans to put his array of talents to use as he pursues a bachelor of arts degree this fall, which he hopes will lead eventually to service in the field of criminal justice and law.

 

Just Posted

RCMP attribute Christina Lake operation to missing person

Upper Fraser Valley RCMP are involved.

Unregulated private land logging continues near Nelson at Cottonwood Lake

Sunshine Logging of Kaslo is cutting on private land in the area of Giveout Creek Road

115 new wildfires burning across B.C. due to 19,000 lightning strikes

More fires expected to start today, says BC Wildfire Service officials

Marijuana to be legal in Canada Oct. 17: Trudeau

Prime Minister made the announcement during question period in the House of Commons

Grand Forks may yet see Tim Hortons development

The City of Grand Forks heard plans on Monday at council.

B.C. BMX kid wows GoPro with homemade video

Eight-year-old Rex Johnson wins award for inventive video

UPDATE: Police say story of pretend cops ‘arresting’ woman in CRA scam fake

Vancouver police urge people not take calls from anyone saying they’re from the Canada Revenue Agency

Almost 2,400 young athletes set to compete at BC Summer Games

Full list of participants was released Friday for the Cowichan Valley event

Airbnb should not accept dwellings without business licenses, city says

Nelson wants province to negotiate with the company

Family raises money for B.C. man burned in campfire mishap

Harold Duncan-Williams suffered first, second and third degree burns when his shirt caught on fire

Canucks ink Markus Granlund to one-year extension

Finnish forward’s contract is worth US$1.475 million

Warning issued as swimmer dies, boater missing this week in B.C. waters

Coroner says statistics show a spike in drownings beginning in May and rising through August

Around 40,000 lightning strikes and over 200 new fires in B.C. in the past two days

‘We’re expecting that the worst of the lightning is now over’

BREAKING: Police responding to alleged bomb threat

Multiple RCMP cruisers, officers on site at Cranbrook Dodge this morning.

Most Read