BY KALISHA MENDONSA
Last week, students of Lacombe Junior High were able to share their knowledge of things that make our country exactly what it is.
During the annual Heritage Fair, Grade 7 students explored many different topics, from First Nations groups, to influential politicians, to sports, food and much more as a way to better understand Canada’s place in the world. The students take time to study a particular topic and are able to share their knowledge through the exhibits.
Students across Canada participate in these events, and even have the opportunity to be selected to take their projects to provincial fairs.
Rob Lennard, director of the Alberta Heritage Fair Program, said he loves to see students getting to know their country through the projects they choose.
“Three or four months ago, when I first met the students at Lacombe Junior High, they had no idea what they wanted to do and no idea what this Heritage Fair was about,” he said.
“Fast forward to now, and they are each experts in the subjects they chose. It’s a really wonderful opportunity for them to examine the past, which helps them understand the present and the future. I’m very, very impressed with the Lacombe students and what I’ve seen so far.”
Students presented a wide variety of topics from the history of sports, to influential leaders, to First Nations tribes and history and even a history of cupcakes in Canada.
Lennard said it’s exciting to see the students eager to share what they have learned.
“It’s great to see their eyes light up when they share their information. The really cool projects, in my opinion, come from family ties,” he said, noting one girl who followed her father’s NHL career and her family’s ties to hockey.
Lennard added that with this year being celebrated as Canada 150, it’s important to take a look at Alberta’s history – which doesn’t quite date back 150 years as a province.
“If we’re looking back at Alberta 150 years ago, we’re exploring First Nations history. It’s been great to see Indigenous and non-Indigenous students exploring First Nations history and culture. It’s wonderful,” he said.
Of the projects in Alberta’s schools, 64 are short-listed for the provincial show.
From there, a top 32 are chosen. From those 32 projects, students are asked if they are able to commit to the summit in Calgary on May 13th and are drawn for participation.
Lennard said it’s a great way to recognize some of the students who go above and beyond with their Heritage projects.
For Grade 7 students Abby Warner and Janna Bruggencate, it was an opportunity to explore some of Warner’s own family history.
“We decided to do our project on the Acadians, mostly because it’s a part of Abby’s heritage. She had great, great, great grandparents who were Acadians. We had learned a bit about it in our social studies classes. It was really interesting finding out a lot more about their culture and identity,” Bruggencate said.
Warner added it was important to her to take a look at her family history to get to know a little bit more about their life and heritage. As well, she said it offers insight into the future.
“It’s important to look at our history so we don’t forget about everything that has happened. That way, people don’t get too caught up in what’s going on, and to remember all of the things that had to happen for us to have what we have now.
“People gave up a lot for us to be able to live how we do,” Warner said.