News — 08 June 2012
Canada’s History Program hosts video contest

Grade seven students Mya Despres (left) and Morgan Rathwell (right) show off the big book version of their project, which is in French, outside of St. Joseph’s School on June 7. Photo by Lindsey Enns.

Story by Lindsey Enns 

Armed with video cameras and a strong sense of curiosity, 200 students from across Canada including 70 from Ontario, were given the opportunity to learn more about their Canadian heritage through the Canada’s History Young Citizens Program.

The program will also gave 28 students the chance to digitally showcase historic milestones of their choosing with the rest of the world at the Ontario Provincial Heritage Fair in Toronto on June 11.

“We are in a technological age and some students have never used a video camera before,” Carol White, Provincial Fair Coordinator for the Ontario Heritage Fairs Association said. “This project gives them the opportunity to learn interview techniques and video techniques as well as explain why their person, place or event is an important part of Canadian history.”

White has also had the chance to view all of the projects online and says that each one of them is very well done and thinks that every student has been able to learn valuable lessons through this assignment.

“It’s a wonderful experience for them and it’s going to serve them well later on in life,” White said. “Learning more about video and interview techniques could help them when they get to the employment stage in their lives.”

One of the projects that will be showcased at the fair in Toronto include Dryden’s very own Mya Depres and Morgan Rathwell who are grade seven students from St. Joseph’s School. Both students decided to focus their project on the journey people took via the Underground Railway.

“It’s an interesting part of our history that we wanted to learn more about,” Rathwell said.

The students were also able to uncover how people got around through the tunnels without getting caught.

“I found it interesting how they used folklore, songs and quilts to show each other which way to go and to warn people if others were coming,” Depres said. “We were able to learn more about how they built safe routes and structures to help them get around safely.”

Depres and Rathwell were among the other 28 students across Canada from grades 4 to 11 that were recognized for their exceptional creativity and passion for this project. Each student was given a video camera to record short documentaries or news pieces that captured the essence of their previously conducted research and how it connects to their communities and country.

“I wanted to figure out why everyone calls our country peaceful and learn why it’s known for that,” Rathwell said.

Both students really enjoyed working with the video camera and are hoping to do more digitally charged projects like this one in future.

“Most of our projects are written so it was good to be able to do something different,” Rathwell said.

On June 11 all of the videos will be available online by visiting youngcitizens.ca. Family members, friends and the rest of the public can also vote for their favourites by clicking here. The results of the online vote will be tallied on August 7 and two students will advance to the final round. Amongst the 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.

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