In honour of Canada’s upcoming 150th anniversary, students at Eckville Junior Senior High School delved into the country’s rich history with an assortment of historical projects, at the school’s 2017 Heritage Fair, on April 19.
Everything from Canadian parks and trains, to artwork and the Olympics was included in the scope of the studied knowledge of the Grade 7s and 8s presenting their work in the school gymnasium, in the afternoon and evening.
“This fair has its historical roots with the Bronfman family. They saw the annual results published on Canadians’ actual knowledge of history, and they were less than overwhelmed with the results,” said Principal and Teacher Brian Holland, taking a break from judging projects in the school gymnasium to chat with the Sylvan Lake News. “So they began what became known as the Great Canadian Heritage Fair.”
The school’s Heritage Fair has been an on-again-off-again event in Eckville for the past couple of decades, Holland noted. It was, at first, only part of the Grade 8 program, but was expanded to include Grade 7s, as well. The only restriction on the content of the students’ work was that it had to tie in, somehow, with Canada’s 150th anniversary.
“They did a real nice job, looking at the history of these developments throughout the past 150 years,” said Holland. “It allowed them to head down avenues where they had a natural interest, curiosity or even family background.”
Holland intimated that it never ceases to amaze him how unique and interesting some of the students’ projects can be, adding “I’ve been around for the duration of this, and there are always different ideas that pop up from time to time.”
He added, “You’d think everything has been exhausted, but someone always finds a way to take a new angle, or finds a new area or passion they enjoy. It’s always impressive.”
The projects were evaluated a minimum of four times by a panel of teachers acting as judges and community/volunteer judges, throughout the day. This year, Holland noted with anticipation that some of the projects may be taken to the provincial level, at the Heritage Fair set to take place in Calgary, on the second weekend of May.
“The first time students are judged on their projects, they are quite nervous — it’s the first time they’ve done something like this, and each successive time, they feel a little more confident about themselves,” said Holland. “One of the big reasons I believe in this is public speaking is such a phobia for many people.
“This dips their toe in (public speaking), in a safer kind of environment, in front of a smaller group, so it doesn’t become this 800-pound gorilla when they have to do it the next time around.”