For 23 years, the Heritage Fair program in Canada has been challenging students to celebrate our country’s heritage through the creation of vibrant history projects.
This year, several elementary schools in the Langley School District - including James Kennedy, Richard Bulpitt, and Dorothy Peacock - held their own school-based Heritage Fairs which saw approximately 280 students take part.
The local fairs were supported by the Langley Centennial Museum and the Langley Heritage Society, whose members were so inspired by the children’s accomplishments that a new event has been created to showcase their efforts.
On Friday, April 22, a Langley Heritage Fair will be held at the Fort Langley Community Hall, at 9167 Glover Road, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The public is invited to attend the free event and witness the enthusiasm and academic excellence that students who participated in each of the three school fairs have poured into their projects.
“There is such a great educational value in creating such projects,” said the Township of Langley’s Acting Cultural Services Manager Jeff Chenatte. “They touch on a multitude of curriculum areas from history and science, to language and fine arts.”
All the projects entered in the Heritage Fair program feature a research/writing, artistic, and presentation component. Students spend hours creating unique submissions which are presented at local school fairs, where judges and teachers identify exemplary projects which are then sent on to regional fairs.
From there, the best of the regional group are selected to go on to a Provincial Heritage Celebration.
“Those that are asked to judge at these events are always astounded at the depth and calibre of the projects presented by these budding young historians,” said Chenatte.
The Langley Centennial Museum and the Langley Heritage Society were eager to support the three schools’ Heritage Fairs and members assisted by evaluating, mentoring, and guiding students through the project development and presentation process. Kay McComish, a member of the Heritage Society and long-time docent at the Museum, organized about two dozen volunteers who stepped forward to judge at the school Heritage Fairs.
Earlier in the year, Langley School District librarian and heritage champion Deb Cowland, who has long extolled the virtues of participating in such fairs, met with the Heritage Society and Museum to discuss the possibility of holding a regional fair in Langley in advance of the larger Abbotsford Fair which takes place at the end of April.
The idea was enthusiastically received, and the Langley Heritage Society stepped up to sponsor a Langley Heritage Fair to formally recognize the efforts of the amateur historians and spotlight their projects.
“This process has awakened an interest in history and our Canadian heritage in both students and their parents,” said Chenatte. “We are sure those who visit the Fair will be filled with pride for our country and left in awe of these amazing students’ achievements.”