Benjamin Taylor, Brianna Barrett, Shana Brown and Dillon Brown are all participating in this year’s Young Citizens program, which focuses on citizenship in the country.
The program is an annual component to Heritage Fairs, an event that has Canadian students researching Canadian legends, notable figures, and events throughout history. Students then present their findings at the yearly fair.
The Young Citizens component has students create a video detailing the subject of their Heritage Fair project. The video is often presented in the style of a short documentary.
The videos created by participants are then posted online to the Young Citizens website, where it can be viewed by the public, as well as a number of judges, who all vote on their favourite video.
Winners of the Young Citizens program are awarded with a trip to Ontario to take part in the Canada’s History Youth Forum.
Videos submitted by students must be less than four minutes, something Shana Brown of Whiteway says was difficult when creating her video.
“When I was first making the video, there was just so much I wanted to keep in,” Shana told The Compass. “So it was hard to bring it down to four minutes, but I managed.”
Shana’s video looks into the memories and history associated with a lot of objects in Newfoundland that are no longer put to use in daily life. Throughout her video, she visits local businesses and explains that although many items seen throughout Newfoundland’s history may not maintain much monetary value, or even practicality, the memories associated with them are just as important.
An example of this, Shana explained, was the wool sweater she wore throughout her video, which had been handed down from her grandfather to her father, and then from her father to her.
Benjamin Taylor of Green’s Harbour made a video detailing the great fire of St. John’s that occurred in 1892.
Throughout his video, Taylor tells the story of the great fire, visiting various locations in St. John’s that had had an impact, or had been affected by the blazes.
On the Young Citizens website, Taylor writes that one of the lessons he learned through his research was that no matter what they’re faced with, people have the ability to persevere and make it through.
Brianna Barrett, who lives in Old Perlican, is taking part in her very last Heritage Fair this year.
Having participated for the past five years, Barrett decided to make a recap of all the experiences she’s had, and things she’s learned through the Heritage Fair. Her video focuses on the importance of the fair to students across Canada.
Barrett revisits the past stories and experiences she’s had through the Heritage Fair, saying that the fairs both help maintain history, as well as provide students with a better understanding of their homes.
Dillon Brown of Whiteway is also taking part in this year’s Young Citizens program. His video details the importance of intangible cultural heritage.
Intangible cultural heritage encompasses things such as stories, crafts, and songs that can only be passed on through people, rather than physical objects stored in museums.
Dillon’s video explores various aspects of Newfoundland culture such as tying knots and crochet – skills that he feels must be passed on, lest they be lost with their generations.
Leila Brown is Shana and Dillon’s mother, and she feels as though the Young Citizens program can greatly benefit students across the country.
“It really helps young people learn about their home, where they come from, and the culture behind it all,” explained Leila. “Even the students that don’t get to go to Ontario, they’ve still learned something important. That’s going to stick with them forever.”
There are around 200 students across Canada involved in the program, but only 26 of them will be awarded a trip to Ontario to attend the Canada’s History Youth Forum.
A panel of judges will vote and decide on 50 per cent of the winners, while public voting will be used to determine the remaining 50 per cent.
Public voting began on June 12, and will end at midnight on July 7.
Videos done by students can be found at www.kids.canadashistory.ca.