Ucluelet students celebrate heritage with school fair

Ucluelet Elementary School’s gym was chalk full of history last week as students put their projects on display for the school’s annual Heritage Fair on April 10.

Students in Grades 3-7 choose a topic to focus on and spend about eight weeks learning everything they can about that topic while also creating a visual display for their presentation.

Students who chose Canadian topics are eligible for a chance to represent Ucluelet at the regional fair in Port Alberni on May 2. About 60 projects filled the gym and the Canadian content level ran high with about 45 Canadianbased presentations. Community judges went through each display and interviewed each student to select the 20 projects that will represent Ucluelet at regionals.

Brice said a key component for the judges is whether a student delivers strong communication of their topic and this year’s presenters nailed it.

“They put a lot of work into it, they did an amazing job, they’re very gung-ho and our community judges said to me today’ I think these are even better than last year’ so that’s part of building the culture in this school; kids really want to do their best,” Brice said. “It’s really hard to pick only 20 to go to Port Alberni; that’s probably the toughest part of today, that some kids didn’t get chosen.”

One student who was chosen to represent Ucluelet at the regional fair is nine-year-old Noah Lim, a grade 4 student who presented on Canadian author Robert Munsch.

She said she picked Munsch because she thought it would be neat to find out what an author’s life is like though she is not interested in becoming an author herself.

“I won a trip to Port Alberni because I worked very hard on this and there’s a whole bunch of judges and when the judges come by they ask you a whole bunch of questions and if you’re confident and answer the questions with pride and look into their eyes you win,” she told the Westerly News. “I’m very excited to go to Port Alberni because we get to go to a museum and ride on a train and do a whole bunch of fun stuff.”

The Heritage Fair has been a long-standing feature of UES’s scholastic schedule but has expanded in the past two years to allow more grades to participate, according to Brice.

She said broadening the range allows younger students to develop their presentation skills and hone these skills through each year’s presentations.

The heritage projects calls on students to utilize a variety of skills they’ve learned throughout the year.

“This brings it all together in that they’re doing research from sources, they’re organizing it, putting it in their own words, they are making connections and doing some artistic representation and then they present it,” Brice said.

She said nerves filled the hallways leading up to the event but excitement quickly took over once presentation day arrived.

“This morning they were so excited and they had such passion and enthusiasm when they met with our community judges; it’s really uplifting and it’s a really good vibe at the end of the day,” Brice said.

She said students often find role models through their research and that she had just

recently learned Canada’s first and only female Prime Minister Kim Campbell was born in Port Alberni.

Building their heritage projects instills confidence in students who are proud of what they have accomplished, Price added.

“For some of our students, this is their first year to do something this big and it’s been very overwhelming, but then, on the day of it, you stand there and it’s like, ‘I did this, I can do anything,'” she said.

reporter@westerlynews.ca