Editor’s note: It is my pleasure to post this letter from Leona, a grade 9 student living in Vancouver. When I opened my email to see this letter, I knew it needed to be posted right away. We are truly living through historic times, and as students of history I’m sure we can all take something from the past that will help us with what we’re living through today. If you need help with your project, please reach out; we are here to help you. And stay tuned for more information about our virtual offerings, coming soon.
For information about BC’s response, please visit the Healthlink BC website. This website has a lot of information, including mental health resources. Please use them if you need someone to talk to, or if you’re struggling at all with the situation we are living through. As Dr. Bonnie Henry reminds us, “be kind, be calm, and be safe.”
By Leona, (Senior Council)
This message is addressed to all students.
Most people alive today have never faced a pandemic before. Like me, you may be confused, afraid, stressed, or bored with all the free time you have during isolation. However, I’ve been at home for about 4 weeks now in isolation. Never before have I felt such a lack of motivation. My digital screen time soars to about 8 hours. Suddenly after a Heritage Fair Alumni call, I had a change of heart. Instead of sitting around and wasting my time, I decided to reflect. I was inspired by the engaged and hardworking students on the call who were brainstorming hard to bring an alternative Heritage Fair experience to your home.
We all study incredible historical figures: Terry Fox, Tommy Douglas, Viola Desmond, and Thanadelthur can all be seen as Canadian heroes. Men and women who impacted Canadian History can have a great influence on the lives we live today, that’s why it’s important to learn about them! All of them are undoubtedly ambitious and hardworking. Thanadelthur was a young woman captured by the Cree in 1713; she was later enslaved. Despite hardships she became a peacemaker, interpreter, and guide for the Hudson’s Bay Company. Similar to Thanadelthur’s perseverance during hard times, Terry Fox, a young man diagnosed with bone cancer, ran across the country with an amputated leg through snow and rain to help raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. No matter the difficult situation and multitude of conflicts thrown at you, you can always make the best of the situation and keep fighting towards your goal.
Our goal as students is to learn. We want to experience success, and reflect on mistakes in order to mature as young adults. Speaking from experience, Heritage Fair has become a massive part of my life. Could you have thought, by creating a poster board project on 6 Canadian Women it has allowed me to travel to a Provincial Fair in Squamish, visit over 10 museums and historical sites with the Heritage Fair society, speak at the Heritage Hall Foundation, and now hold a position as an alumni representative for this non-profit organization? I’m sure there are many alumni who can give lengthy testimonies on how Heritage Fair has changed lives, and with the support of adults, students across BC have found passions. Bottom line is, I don’t want any student to miss out on that opportunity. Therefore, I invite you to do your own mini history projects at home. Binge watch heritage minutes videos, or do research about a Canadian Hero that may share the same career interests as you. Surely you have time right now to read an article from the Canadian Encyclopedia. Stalk our instagram @bcheritagefairs and read up on all our Museum Mondays and posts, or check our highlights for our Fair Friday series. I want you to continue to learn because knowledge truly is power.
Can you believe we’re living through a time that is going to be an interesting Heritage Fair topic in the future? A lot of us are passionate about helping others, this is a great time to help out your community; spreading smiles with small acts during this gloomy time can really lighten the mood. During this pandemic I have recognized a lot of unity in the world. For once we are not against each other, as a matter of fact we are fighting this disease together. I know what it feels like to be a young person but physical interactions with friends can wait! Video call your family members and friends, or ask your grandparents to tell you stories. We can all definitely make the best of the situation, because we’re living through an incredible part of history. Continue to stay engaged, continue to learn and stay safe.