St. A enthusiasm ignites Heritage Fair

One Ponoka school is creating a new generation of history lovers with a Heritage School Fair.

Caelan Steffen dresses the part for his presentation of Building the Railway.

Caelan Steffen dresses the part for his presentation of Building the Railway.

One Ponoka school is creating a new generation of history lovers with a Heritage School Fair.

Grade 4 students at St. Augustine Catholic School presented their research of Canadian history and were judged on how well their work was displayed.

Teacher Kari Brackenbury was pleased to see the final presentation of students’ work. “They love it. They are so excited and enthused.”

The process involved coming up with an idea, having a research plan and fulfilling that with a bibliography and a strong presentation.

“They initiate their own learning,” added Brackenbury.

The project covered the scope of the Grade 4 students’ curriculum and kids completed their work in school every day over the last six weeks. Based on the input from her students, Brackenbury intends to do this again next year.

The Heritage School Fair is part of a program organized by the Central Alberta School Fairs (CASF), explained Rod Trentham, co-chair of the group. “We’ve never had Ponoka involved before this.”

He enjoyed seeing students’ work and the amount of energy put into the project. His hope for the school fairs is to give kids an opportunity to study something they enjoy.

“It’s to stimulate an increase (of interest) for all kinds of learners,” said Trentham.

Work was based on 70 points with 20 points on research, 20 on interview, 10 on aesthetics, 10 on written work and 10 on creativity and originality. “The biggest thing is presenting it.”

He sees other benefits besides the learning, students also have a chance to hone their interview and research skills.

Rob Lennard is director of CASF and he is also an author, musician and historian; he oversees and promotes the heritage fairs. “I love history, I’m very passionate about it.”

He is also known as the History Wrangler and enjoys passing on his joy of history to younger people. The heritage fairs are another way for kids to learn about the past.

“It’s an opportunity for kids to really become an expert on something,” added Lennard. “And to trigger enthusiasm for history in the province.”

The heritage fair had a wide variety of Canadian history from the Calgary Stampede to the building of the railways and the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. Some students dressed up to match their theme.

Students have the option to present their work at the Central Alberta Regional Heritage School Fair May 4 at the Red Deer Museum.

Lennard also presented his music and stories to students from kindergarten to Grade 6 at the school.