Warman Middle School prepares for Heritage Fair

Warman Community MIddle School Grade 7 teacher Clark Bymoen is organizing the school’s Heritage Fair

The Warman Community Middle School (WCMS) gym at the Legends Centre will be overflowing with Canadian history and culture on Thursday, March 22.
That’s when the school’s Grade 7 students will be exhibiting their Heritage Fair projects.
“We’ve got seven Grade 7 classes involved,” said WCMS teacher Clark Bymoen. “That’s a total of about 170 kids participating, with about 115 projects altogether.”
Heritage Fairs are held in schools across the province every spring under the auspices of Heritage Saskatchewan. Students in Grades 4 through 7 undertake projects in which they research a heritage topic of their choice and then present their story to their class, teachers and community members.
The projects give students a chance to learn about a favourite subject, event, place or family ancestor. Projects at local heritage fairs are judged, and the winners progress to regional heritage fairs and finally to a provincial competition.
Bymoen said he initiated a small heritage fair with his own homeroom class of Grade 7 students last year.
“It was a bit of test run, to see how it would go over,” said Bymoen. “I was very impressed with the enthusiasm and initiative of the students.”
Bymoen said one of his students last year went all the way to the provincial finals competition.
“She did a tremendous amount of research,” said Bymoen. “Her project was on her great grandfather, who was captured by the Nazis in World War II. He managed to escape and make his way across Europe. He ended up meeting her Grandma and that was how their family came about.
“She had some artifacts, including a ring that he had made from some of the metal from a downed American plane. She still had the ring. Those are the types of stories that are really interesting, not just for the student, but for the whole community.”
Bymoen said the Heritage Fair projects are virtually wide open. As long as the topic has to do with Canada, and follows the guidelines of Heritage Saskatchewan, the sky is the limit.
“If a kid wants to do something on Sidney Crosby or Wayne Gretzky, go for it,” said Bymoen. “But we really encourage them to come up with original projects.”
Bymoen said the projects are good because they stimulate students’ enthusiasm for learning on their own.
“Lots of times I hear kids say, ‘why don’t we learn this or that in school?’ Well, here’s your chance,” he said. “Whatever you’re interested in, I’m pretty sure there’s a Canadian connection somewhere.
“My hope is that the kids become really engaged and excited about it and take off with it.
“That’s what the good students tend to do. You give them some direction and you don’t see them again until their project’s finished. They’re unstoppable.”
The WCMS Heritage Fair will see all 115 projects exhibited in the gym from 10 am till 2 pm. Approximately 15 judges, including Warman Mayor Sheryl Spence and Prairie Spirit School Division Director of Education Lori Jeschke, will interview each exhibitor and judge the projects. The winners will then move on to the regional competition to be held later in the year in Saskatoon.
Bymoen said community members are more than welcome to come and view the projects on March 22.
“It’s an educational experience for everyone,” he said. “It’s great to see kids get excited about learning. And it gives young people a chance to dig deep and learn more about their country and province in general, and their family roots in particular; where they came from and why they’re here.”