SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I.- The roar of an explosion crackled over the loudspeakers of Summerside Intermediate School at 9:04 a.m. Wednesday.
Students perked up from their lessons, looking around in confusion, some with concern.
A voice followed, recounting the horrors of the Halifax Explosion’s aftermath.
Then students dressed in early 20th century costumes burst through classroom doors: “Two ships collided! Halifax wrecked!” they yelled, before frantically running off to the next class.
Meanwhile, staff and more students were busy modifying the school’s décor, which had been modelled after Halifax in 1917. Cracks were added to windows, a model village was removed and rubble was put in its place and hallway street signs were put askew.
Grade 7 student Skye Northrup, emerged from her class and into a different scene than what had been on display when she’d entered the school.
“It was scary – we thought people were really running (from something),” said Northrup.
It was all a purposefully dramatic way to mark the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion.
Teacher/librarian Kelly Boyd, one of the organizers of the school’s week-long learning initiative, said she was pleased with how it turned out, though she was eager to get more thoughts from students after they’d had time to digest the experience.
“I think it was a powerful experience for the students. A lot of learning went on, and it’s interesting to hear the reactions of those whom I’ve had a chance to talk to about what the explosion has meant to them,” said Boyd.
The school’s week-long Halifax Explosion activities will wrap up today with a school assembly.