Iqaluit students had a chance to publicly showcase and celebrate their heritage at this year’s Heritage Fair held at Inuksuk High School on Jan. 16.
Teachers encouraged their students to chose a topic related to their past; whether it was connected to their heritage, culture, ethnicity or history to obtain a deeper insight or better understanding of their identities.
According to the social studies department head Patrick McDermott, the goal was also to create an “authentic learning” experience. Instead of writing an essay or doing a classroom presentation, the idea was “to celebrate their learning and demonstrate that learning to the public,” explained McDermott.
In the morning, about 130 students displayed their projects before 14 guest judges. The students did presentations for the judges using either a bristol board or powerpoint. The top three winners were selected from each of the eight participating classes. In addition to a certificate, the winning students were awarded prizes by their teachers. The selection of prizes included baseball caps, winter hats or bags with water bottles.
In the afternoon, the fair was open to the public. Community members had the opportunity to learn about various topics including: effects of forced relocations, impact of WWI, Philippine immigration to Canada and the history of the Prince Edward Island railway; to name a few.
Grade 9 student Cassidy Devereaux, who interviewed her grandfather about working at the Sydney Mines and Steel corporation, believes the Heritage Fair is important.
“I believe it is very important for students to learn more about their heritage as part of our school work. It’s great that the school gives us an opportunity to study our families’ history,” she explained.
This year the students had limited resources for researching due to the ransomware attack in fall 2019, said McDermott.
However despite the challenges, McDermott believes it was motivation from both the students and the teachers that made the Heritage Fair possible this year.
“Teachers went way above and beyond the call of duty to actually develop and provide resources for students,” he emphasized.