Armed with video cameras and a keen sense of curiosity, two hundred students from across Canada are exploring their Canadian heritage in a dynamic, hands-on learning environment. Each student is participating in the inauguration of Canada’s History Young Citizens Program. Two hundred students, from Grades 4 to 11, have been selected as the top Heritage Fair contestants from their school. Every student received a digital video camera to record short documentaries or news pieces that capture the essence of their research project, and how it connects them to their communities and country. These are just some of the students that are being recognized for their exceptional creativity, knowledge and passion for history:
- Arwyn Workman-Youmans from St. Catharines is retracing the journey her Great Grandmother and her children made to Canada.
- Shelbi Korycki Striegler from Ottawa is building a pottery model with photos of the Commissariat Museum, the oldest stone building in Ottawa to learn about the importance of preserving historic landmarks for future generations.
- Jonathan Lee from Whitby is learning about the historical events that impacted his family when his Chinese descendants entered the country at the turn of the century.
- Sarah McFarlan from Toronto is researching the experience of residential school students in Canada and the losses associated with their experience.
- Mya Despres from Dryden explains in big book format the journey of black slaves to a new life in Canada via the Underground Railway.
- Ezra Weima-Scholes from Kingston is exploring Canada’s connection to the sinking of the Titanic and the role that Canada played in the aftermath of the disaster.
Deborah Morrison, CEO and Publisher of Canada’s History Magazine emphasized, “These short three or four minute news pieces or public service announcements on their heritage topics will be posted online, where fellow students, parents and family can view their work and vote for their favourites.”
On June 11, 2012, the student videos go live on the site and will be open to the public to view, comment and vote on their favourites. The results of that online vote will be tallied on August 7th when voting closes and two students per participating province/territory will advance to the finalist round. Amongst those finalists, a panel of judges will select six winners to join Canada’s History in Ottawa as part of the events surrounding the Governor General History Awards.
Elizabeth Kerr, President of the Ontario Heritage Fairs Association remarked, “Through this program, we’ll be able to connect communities across the country while empowering young people to improve their historical knowledge and gain a better appreciation of our country’s history.”
Screenings and film festivals will also be organized to showcase the work of these Young Citizens and the top videos will be shown at the National History Forum in Ottawa this fall.
The launch of the online project is being marked with an official ceremony involving the twenty-eight Young Citizens selected from Ontario who will be premiering their videos at the Ontario Provincial Heritage Fair on June 11, 2012.
The Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario will be present for the screenings as part of the opening ceremonies to be held at the William Doo Auditorium, University of Toronto (45 Willcocks Street) on Monday, June 11, 2012. The showcase of student projects is open to the public from 9 a.m. until 11:45 a.m.