Caption: Officer Cadet Samuel Barrette-Bedard prepares to sample Scotch at CMR Saint-Jean’s Robbie Burns Supper on January 31st.
Photo Credit (2): Officer Cadet Chen ZeXi
An Evening of Scottish Culture at RMC Saint-Jean
An article by 27148 Officer Cadet Em Prosper
The staff and students of the Royal Military College Saint-Jean celebrated the life of Scotland’s favourite son with the fifth annual Robbie Burns Supper on January 31st. Robbie Burns was a famed Scottish poet whose legacy has endured the test of time, as this year marks his 255th birthday. This activity was generously funded by the RMC Foundation.
The tradition of feasting upon haggis and raising a glass of scotch in Burns’ name goes back nearly 200 years, and although the suppers are thrown by Burns fans the world over, the Scottish ritual remains true to its roots. The suppers often include numerous toasts, readings of Burns’ poetry, and of course; the great Address to a Haggis, a poem written by Burns in 1786.
The supper was kicked off with the Address to a Haggis, passionately recited by Officer Cadet Carson MacNeil, (photo left) who—in keeping with Scottish custom—stabbed the great haggis with gusto. Those attending the dinner enjoyed bagpipe music, a scotch tasting, and a poetry contest for those who dared take on one of Burns’ verses.
When the plates were cleared, several toasts were given by various members of the college, but perhaps the most memorable toasts of the night were those by Lieutenant-General (retired) Michel Maisonneuve and Colonel Jennie Carignan, who toasted to the Lassies and the Laddies, respectively. To make the night even more remarkable, Lieutenant (Navy) Douglas Cuthbert performed a brilliant rendition of “Flower of Scotland” with Warrant Officer Daniel Holley backing him on bagpipes.
Ms. Mélanie Provost and Professor Luke Dilworth orchestrated the supper with the help of Naval Cadet Ian Marcoux and his committee of fellow officer cadets, who ensured that the night was a hit with all of the participants. The evening served to bring people from various cultures together to enjoy an evening of broadened horizons and, for those who had certain haggis prejudices, an evening of new experiences. As the night came to a close, members of the College sang “Auld Lang Syne”, toasting for one last time to the memory of a man who lived in days past, and who continues to be celebrated the world over.
Photo left: Having qualified to the next category of the competition, Officer Cadet Benjamin Antworth and Officer Cadet Simon Ewing triumphantly take a short break as they prepare for the next set of matches to begin during the fencing tournament in Newport, New York, U.S.A.
Photo right: Officer Cadet Mathieu Briere and Officer Cadet Alexandre Ducharme celebrate their achievements by proudly displaying their medals. Officer Cadet Mathieu Briere placed first place in the entire competition, and Officer Cadet Alexandre Ducharme placed third in the competition. Their respective placements greatly supplemented the presence of the College in the Newport regional competition.
Photo credit (2): Officer Cadet Caleb Ho.
RMC SAINT-JEAN AT WESTPORT FENCING TOURNAMENT
-An article by Officer Cadet Jay Lee
During the first weekend of February (February 1st, 2014), Officer Cadets of the RMC Saint-Jean fencing team travelled to Westport, New York State to compete in the Westport fencing competition. Although it was the fencing team’s second visit here, Officer Cadets had the opportunity to compete against new faces from all over New York State.
On a Saturday morning, members of the fencing team travelled across the U.S.-Canada border on a bus provided to them, proudly representing Canada and RMC Saint-Jean. The competition was not only a good place to test the skills of the Officer Cadets, but was also a good learning experience for the entire team.
The College certainly left an impression on the fencers from the New York State. Although the fencing team faced numerous capable opponents with years of experience, it performed admirably; every member of the team had improved their scores from the previous competition. Most notably, RMC Saint-Jean dominated the award stage with two of its Officer Cadets placing 1st and 3rd in the competition. Officer Cadet Mathieu Briere placed 1st in the competition, proudly claiming the gold medal as his own, in addition to gaining an official ranking in the U.S. fencing community. Officer Cadet Alexandre Ducharme placed 3rd in the competition, winning another medal for the fencing team.
“It was a great experience for all of us. I was very satisfied with the fact that I did much better on this competition as compared to my last”, said Officer Cadet Caleb Ho. “I think the entire team developed a strong bond from sharing its achievements amongst each other.”
As stated by Officer Cadet Ho, organized sporting activities such as this are crucial to the development of officer cadets. Not only is physical fitness a core component of the RMC Saint-Jean curriculum, sports can provide a core basis for leadership, teamwork and cooperation. As it is RMC Saint-Jean’s goal to produce well-balanced future officers and allowing officer cadets to participate in such physical activities is part of the College’s curriculum, which is based on Academics, Leadership, Sports and Bilingualism.
The 2014 Kingston Bike-a-thon
– An article written by Officer Cadet Guillaume Boucher
On 1 February, 19 officer cadets from RMC Saint-Jean participated in the 2014 edition of the bike-a-thon at RMC of Canada. This activity, generously funded by the RMC Foundation, is a friendly competition between both Colleges and a fundraiser for the Soldier On Foundation that supports wounded Canadian soldiers. The team raised 200 dollars for this foundation to do their part.
For some of the officer cadets going to this event was a difficult decision for they would be missing opportunities such as a trip to Quebec and the Robbie Burns dinner. None the less the officer cadets who put their names in saw that a trip to their future college and supporting the soldier on cause was worth missing those events.
Officer cadets left the college after lunch on the Friday before the competition and missed an afternoon of school for the event. Upon arrival the officer cadets drop off their belongings and when straight to the College for food following with the beginning of the competition. The Bike-a-thon started off with a 15 minute sprint on the stationary bike and following that the 24 hours began. Paring up for one hour shifts, the officer cadets pedalled hard all through the night and through the next day.
When not on the bikes, the officer cadets had the opportunity to visit the town. They got to see many aspects of Kingston from the fun-packed town to the equally amusing nightlife. There was much for the RMC Saint-Jean students to do when not biking, studying or sleeping.
For the majority of the night the RMC Saint-Jean team was in the lead of the competition always just a few miles ahead of the competing teams. The team was pumped with adrenaline and excitement as they could taste victory just around the corner. As they observed the other teams having various issues including losing chains, disorderly speedometers, and overall team member fatigue, the RMC Saint-Jean was starting to worry about what might happen to them.
In the early morning, the tachometer on the team’s bike presented difficulties. At first it stopped registering the distance, then it reset all together, finally the bike stopped registering any speed over 120 rotations per minute, making the team have a limited amount of miles they could register. All of these issues culminated and the team was stuck in third behind the RMC of Canada Sandhurst team and number three squadron by the middle of Saturday.
RMC Saint-Jean refused to be beat and hard pedaling throughout Saturday brought the team back ahead of Sandhurst and head to head with number 3 squadron. Who would have thought the strangers from the sister College would be so competitive? Motivated by their will to properly represent the College, the RMC Saint-Jean team never let off the gas and kept the tachometer maxed out the whole time and only made switches with speed and aggression.
The competition came to a close and the two leading teams could not be closer. At press time, the results have not yet been released; however, if any member of the team is asked they will most likely say they did the best they could but they think the team came in second place. None the less the team knows they made their College proud.
Truth Duty Valour
Photo 1: Officer Cadet Elise Thivierge starting of the competition as first on the bike for the RMC Saint-Jean team, all in a strong attempt to put her team in the lead early.
Photo credit: Officer Cadet George Goertz