Creative minds like Cameron Loeffen are salvaging and, in fact, enhancing community events that the public has been unable to attend during COVID-19.
The Grade 12 Chemainus Secondary School student filmed, edited and produced a video to commemorate Remembrance Day that’s been shared throughout the Cowichan Valley School District and to some schools in Victoria. It runs nearly 20 minutes long.
“I was approached with the idea and I morphed it into my own thing,” Loeffen said.
He was presented with a Poppy Appreciation Award for his efforts by Royal Canadian Legion Chemainus Branch 191 members Mike Beggs and David Nielsen Friday at the school.
“It’s the first time it’s been done and you’d think he’d done it 100 times,” praised Beggs of Loeffen’s work.
Loeffen filmed a ceremony and presentation done at the school by Legion members Nielsen, Dave Munro, Jim McCormick, Wesley Barnaby and Frans Vandenbrink. He included split screen footage of the Legion representatives with the Chemainus Secondary School Band’s Zoey Corbin, Eleanor Bowden, Reid Thompson, Colton Banks, Sebastian Guzman, Raeanne George, Gabi Untalan, Aiden Carter and Nina Bumstead.
Loeffen also added a segment with students Kurtis Stajkowski, Brooklyn Gamble, Kody Price, Abigail Kronberg, Luke McMahon and Travis Tuplin taking turns to recite portions of In Flanders Fields.
“I got everything together and just made a video to share with all the schools,” said Loeffen.
“I wanted to share the Remembrance Day ceremony I’ve grown up with every year.”
Loeffen wasn’t expecting much from himself given all the COVID restrictions, but is justifiably proud of the final result with the aid and support of the teaching staff at Chemainus Secondary – Principal Lori Hryniuk, Vice Principal Jennie Hittinger, Alex Pollock, Greg Wall, Siobhan Anderson and Kim Magnan.
“A great young man, big impact on the community,” Hryniuk enthused.
“It just impacted over 1,000 people,” observed Pollock.
“What a great project,” added Hittinger. “You made so many people happy.”
Trying to decide how to mark Remembrance Day without the usual assemblies or community festivities started as a dilemma before a solution emerged.
“In comes the youth, guided and trained by Mr. Pollock and Mr. Wall, and knocked their socks off,” observed Hittinger.
It was great to see youth and seniors come together to “bridge the generational gap,” said Hryniuk.
The project consumed class and free time for Loeffen, but he wanted to do everything in his power to make it the very best he could.
“So much editing, probably at least a good 15 hours,” he said. “I did a lot of it after school.”
Loeffen has been receiving plenty of positive feedback about the video.
“People keep saying it’s great,” he indicated. “It’s kind of still unreal that I could pull that off and spread to so many people.”
Like any project, Computer 12 whiz kid Loeffen found himself dealing with a tight time line in the end to get it done.
“That was a sprint rather than a marathon,” conceded Pollock.
Realizing the significance of Remembrance Day and what it also means to him personally was enough to motivate Loeffen to great lengths.
“My mom is a school teacher so she does a ceremony every year with her class,” he explained.
“I absolutely cherish Remembrance Day. It’s so important in so many ways.”
With the experience behind him, Loeffen is looking ahead to what it might mean.
“This is my first big project that I ever dreamt of tackling.
“It’s definitely a hobby and it’s also possibly a career path I can take.”