Local high school student, Anna Kouao, wins prestigious national Vimy Pilgrimage Award. Out of hundreds of applicants from across the country, Kouao , 15, was selected to participate in this Vimy Foundation program, which recognizes the actions of 20 young people aged 14-17 who demonstrate outstanding service, positive contributions, and leadership in their communities. Students can now apply for the 2021 Award.

The fully funded educational program takes place in Belgium and France in the week leading up to Vimy Ridge Day (April 9 th ). Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Vimy Foundation has decided to suspend its educational programs involving student travel to Europe for the immediate future. The 2020 Vimy Pilgrimage Award is, at present, postponed to a later date to be confirmed.

Children’s Choir Assistant, Anna Kouao has a firm grasp on the importance of arts and culture in community building. The Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute student council member and student mentor also helped to welcome Syrian refugees by working with Opportunity Knox. Kouao volunteers at an art gallery, and visits retirement homes to provide company and sing for their residents. Attending the Vimy Pilgrimage Award is a dream come true for Kouao, a young person dedicated to community building through volunteer work.

To commemorate Vimy Ridge Day this year, The Vimy Foundation will be sharing tributes to Canadian military personnel created by the 2020 Vimy Pilgrimage Award recipients. These will be available on the Pilgrimage Blog, and on the Foundation’s social media ( @vimyfoundation ). Publishing these tributes allows students, who will attend the program at a postponed date, to share individual stories of the Great War generation and to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

On April 9th, 1917, at Vimy Ridge, 100,000 Canadian soldiers gathered for the first time as a unified force. Today, we remember all who served during the First World War, and we celebrate our Canadian unity and resilience.

The organization thanks its lead sponsor Scotiabank for their generous support of the Vimy Pilgrimage Award. Scotiabank aims to support organizations that are committed to helping young people reach their infinite potential.

This program is also sponsored by Air Canada: The First World War is an important, strategic moment in Canadian history and Air Canada is proud to support our youth and tomorrow’s leaders by sponsoring the 2020 Vimy Pilgrimage Award, allowing 20 exceptional teenagers from across Canada to learn and remember.

The Vimy Foundation works to preserve and promote Canada’s ongoing legacy of leadership as symbolised by the First World War victory at Vimy Ridge in April 1917, a milestone where Canada came of age and was recognised on the world stage. Find out more at www.vimyfoundation.ca.