Submitted by History Society Young Citizens
It’s been 112 years since the end of the Second Boer War, and 55 years since the top-secret underground Diefenbunker was built amidst fears of a possible nuclear war. So how do these stories continue to be told for and by the next generation? 150 students across Canada hopefully have an answer, as they take a different approach to learn about the history that took place right in their own community. They are part of the Canada’s History Young Citizens Program. Students from Grades 4 to 11 have been selected as the top Heritage Fair contestants from their school.
Using video cameras the students have interpreted the history within their own backyards. Using primary source documents, role-playing, dramatic readings and digital technology these students have created online videos about their topic. From beginning to end, the students serve as scriptwriters, directors, costume creators videographers and editors to experience Canadian history. “Students involved in this process don’t just research history, they live and breathe it for several weeks. They become deeply connected to their subject and advocates for why the rest of the country really needs to know about this part of our history. Finding that passion and connection is key to fostering a life-long interest in our past, and what better way for students to discover what’s interesting about our history than from each other?” explained Deborah Morrison, president and CEO of Canada’s History Society.
Canadians are invited to view the videos online at YoungCitizens.ca and from June 17-July 11 can cast a vote for their favourite submissions. A panel of judges will review all the videos and select six final recipients based on the result of the vote and the quality of their videos. The six Young Citizens receive a trip for two to Ottawa this November, where they will premiere their film at the Canada’s History Forum and attend events surrounding the Governor General’s History Awards.
“It’s encouraging to see young people sharing and deepening their knowledge of Canada,” said Jan Belanger, Assistant Vice-President, Community Affairs for Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life. “We hope our support for the Young Citizens program will help participants gain the insights they need to become responsible and engaged citizens.”
Here’s a snapshot of some of the students’ digital historic journeys:
• Bradley Wood-MacLean from Kingston, Ontario guides Canadians on a virtual tour of the underground military Diefenbunker built during the Cold War.
• Jacob Grant from Winnipeg, Manitoba re-enacts the moments before and after Andrew Mynarski’s valiant efforts to rescue a trapped crew member during the Second World War.
• Bailey Black from Vancouver, B.C retraces her great, great, great aunt’s journey as the first woman to climb the Chilkoot Pass as well as Yukon’s first female member in parliament.
• Zachary McEwan from Calgary, Alberta uncovers how one miner survived being buried alive in the infamous Frank Slide.
• Mackenzie Purvis from Mt. Uniacke, Nova Scotia pans for gold as she researches the history of the precious metal and its connection to Mount Uniacke’s heritage.
To view the entries and contest winners, visit www.YoungCitizens.ca.
The Governor General’s History Awards bring together students, teachers, historians, museums and community organizations, writers and media producers to celebrate as well as learn from each other. The day prior to the award ceremonies, recipients will participate in a public history forum at the Canadian War Museum. The Young Citizens award-winning videos will be showcased at the Canada’s History Forum at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa on November 2nd. The Forum is open to the public to attend onsite or online by registering at CanadasHistory.ca/HistoryForum.