Student to take part in Vimy Ridge pilgrimage

A Duchess Park high school student has earned a trip to Europe to learn about Canada's First World War legacy.

Out of hundreds of applicants from across the country, Mana Moshkforoush, 17, was among 20 selected to participate in the Vimy Foundation's Pilgrimage Award program based on their outstanding service, positive contributions, and leadership in their communities.

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Early next month, they will tour important First World War sites and will attend commemorations for the 99th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge on April 9 at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France.

Vimy Ridge was not simply a First World War battle - it's been described as Canada's coming of age.

"It was a seminal moment in our history, a victory that helped give us our own voice around the world," said Vimy Foundation executive director Jeremy Diamond.

The battle, which was fought from April 9-12, 1917, was the first time all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force fought together during the war.

Moshkforoush is looking forward to the experience.

"I feel pretty awesome, I feel honoured to have this opportunity," Moshkforoush said.

Steps Moshkforoush had to take during the selection process included writing a long essay. Her outstanding contributions at school and within the community were also major reasons she was selected.

In 2014, Moshkforoush's family moved to Prince George where she is a volunteer at University Hospital of Northern British Columbia and St. John's Ambulance and sits on the Prince George Public Library's youth advisory committee.

When they were living in North Vancouver, she was a Rotary International Understanding Committee director and student council president and youth community enhancement award from that community's mayor in recognition of the more than 500 volunteer hours served.

Beyond what she learned in Social Studies 11, Moshkforoush admitted she did not know much about Vimy Ridge before applying.

"I'm really interested in Canadian history and I thought I'm going to be a professional in this country and I think it's really important to know how the things that I have today and that's through history," Moshkforoush said.

For more information about the Vimy Foundation and the Vimy Pilgrimage Award, visit www.vimyfoundation.ca.

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