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Baccalieu Collegiate full of Newfoundland pride at Heritage Fair


OLD PERLICAN, NL — Students at Baccalieu Collegiate in Old Perlican filled their school’s gym with culture.

On Tuesday morning, Mar. 20, dozens of young students showcased their hard work and dedication to the Heritage Fair – a yearly event hosted in every corner of Canada, giving students the opportunity to explore the heritage and history of home. This year’s Heritage Fair’s theme was “Lessons from our past, leading our future.”

Desks lined the walls of the school’s gym, as well as several in the centre, all topped with intricate bristol board displays focusing on a variety of topics ranging from traditional Newfoundland music, the seal hunt, women in the early 1900s, and even specific events such as the St. John’s Great Fire of 1892.

David Barrett is a social studies teacher at Baccalieu Collegiate, and has been heavily involved in the Fair alongside the school for several years. He says the Heritage Fair serves as a means for students to get fully immersed into the history of their province, and to gain a much stronger understanding of various aspects of Newfoundland culture.

“Some of these students work at these projects for months. Most of them have an idea in mind by the end of Christmas break, so they have plenty of time to work away and do some real research about it,” he said. “Baccalieu Collegiate has had the Heritage Fair here for as long as we’ve been open, and we’ve always come out of it with some really great projects, and today is no exception. The students love it, and it really is a great way for them to learn. Not only that, it keeps the culture alive, and that’s the main thing.”

Students taking part in the fair take on several different avenues of research for their projects. Barrett explained that one of the main aspects of these projects was to interview people associated with the project’s topic, giving the students the opportunity to not only get a first-hand perspective on the topic they spend months learning about, but also to use research tools other than the internet.

Two students, Alyssa Barrett and Karlie Squires, have been involved in the fair for several years, having attended the regional fair for the past five years. The duo is always on the lookout for project ideas, and this year’s was no exception.

Following a trip to Rencontre East, Barrett and Squires decided to research and investigate isolated communities in Newfoundland and the subject of relocation.

“We visited Rencontre last summer, and we just got really interested in isolated and resettled communities here in Newfoundland,” said Alyssa.

“When we were there, we saw how everybody there works together, how nice the community is, and how everyone there is like a big family,” Squires added. “We did a little research, and when we decided to do our project on it, we found out we actually have personal connections there – both of us – so that made it even more interesting to us.”

This isn’t the first time this has happened to them, either. Alyssa went on to explain that almost every Heritage Fair project the two have worked on, they’ve come across some sort of connection between themselves and the topic they were researching, which continued to drive them and keep their interest in the fair flowing.

“We’re always thinking about the Heritage Fair. We’ve had this idea since last summer, so it’s really become a pretty big part of our lives over the last few years,” Squires said. “It’s fun, and always interesting.”

The regional Heritage Fair is set to take place at Amalgamated Academy in Bay Roberts on May 4th, with students from various schools across the Avalon representing their home with their leading projects.

chris.lewis@cbncompass.ca

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