Editor’s note: a few school fairs in the Vancouver region were held before the schools shut down, and Tracy was able to be an adjudicator at some of those fairs. Vancouver students are often interviewed by students their own age, and the Vancouver Regional Alumni are incredibly involved in the school and regional fairs. If you’re interested in learning more, you can get in touch with your own regional coordinator and see if there’s a role for you! 

 

by Tracy, Junior Council

As Alumni, I’m sure we can all remember being judged. At school fairs, then, at regionals… and finally presenting to a whole bunch of strangers at Provincials. I’m not sure many of us would like to do that again. I’m not sure I would – with all the judging and note-taking and the JUDGING and not knowing what they thought of you… In the good old days before social distancing happened, I had the very special opportunity to inflict the very same uncertainty upon fellow students. In other words, I got to adjudicate Heritage Fair projects.

First stop was Kerrisdale Elementary with a class of French Immersion, Gifted-and-Talented students.

I would just like to say WOW, these projects are absolutely all amazing and I loved all the ones I got to see, but since I’m only allowed to pick a few to write about…

This one project made my jaw drop and I couldn’t pick it up again for quite a long time. Rebecca, who is so amazing, did her project on the differences between females in Indigenous legends and traditional Grimm fairy tales, and how in the Indigenous tales, the female lead usually uses her own strengths to save the prince, but in fairytales like original Sleeping Beauty, the prince rapes her when she’s asleep then goes back to his wife. 

Secondly, there was Noah, whose project was on the Danish Resistance in WW2. He did so much research on this project and you could tell because his presentation was 15 minutes long and left me wanting to know more. We don’t really hear about Denmark when we learn about WW2, and the Canadian parachute troop that marched down to Wismar through Nazi territory and held their ground against the Soviet army. 

And then there’s Carson, and his project on the Silver Dart. You could tell right away that he was really passionate about his topic – and for his creative component, he built his own aileron, which is the method airplane engineers used instead of wing warping (which he explained). I still have a hard time not being awed by this.

Quick lunch, and then off to a second school, Tecumseh Elementary.

The first person I interviewed at Tecumseh was Elizabeth, who was even more nervous than I was, if that was even possible! Her project was on racism against Asian immigrants and she brought up issues that existed in the late 1900’s and early 1910’s that I didn’t know existed and how they still existed today.

If Elizabeth is reading this right now, please please please ignore the person who was rude about your project, I found it absolutely brilliant. You should be so proud of yourself.

The next project that really pulled my attention was Eloise’s project on the Cariboo Gold Rush. She had so much energy and you could tell that she loved her topic! Her board explained how it helped found BC as a province, which is not something people bring up often. Eloise also mentioned something about a camel problem after the gold rush – because at one point in history, BC had a foreign camel infestation.

Oh, and of course, how could I forget? Our Junior Alumni Council’s very own Daniel was there, too, with a poster board, a book (he wrote himself!), models, a 3-D map, a slideshow, etc. etc. on the Northwest Passage. Not gonna lie, this blew my mind completely. He covered everything from the history to how it made Canadians feel to how it affected the local Inuit peoples living in the area, and of course, a visual guide to one of the most famous perished explorers – the well-known Sir John Franklin (and his wife, Jane!) and many others.

I could go on about these for hours, probably, but get involved in your local Heritage Fair judging the next time you have a chance in the probably very distant future! My mind was blown and I’d only visited two schools.

When the we (as judges) are adjudicating your project, we don’t really give you scores or grades. We listen, we’re actually interested, and then we pick the projects that have most lasting impressions on us. When we ask you questions, it’s because we want to know more. Don’t be afraid of the judges. We’re all quite nice. Honest.

It might seem different or even weird to be talking to people online instead of in person, but it’s really not that stressful — maybe even less so. Just relax, smile, and tell us about the aspect of Canadian history you’re most passionate about.