PA School student wins trip to Ottawa

NNSL file photo Rochelle Smith of Princess Alexandra School wears a suffragette costume from her project in the NWT Heritage Fair on May 6 and 7 in Yellowknife.

NNSL file photo
Rochelle Smith. left, of Princess Alexandra School wears a suffragette costume from her project in the NWT Heritage Fair on May 6 and 7 in Yellowknife.

A student from Princess Alexandra School will be heading to Ottawa in November as a result of a video about her project in the NWT Heritage Fair.

Rochelle Smith won first place in the Hay River Heritage Fair, and third place overall in the NWT Heritage Fair in Yellowknife in May.

Afterward, she was invited to make a short video about her project titled The Fight to Become a Person which focused on the Famous Five, a group of women who fought to allow women to sit in the Canadian Senate.

The project featured Smith dressed as a suffragette and singing a song about women’s rights.

“I’m really excited,” said the 11-year-old Rochelle of winning the trip to Ottawa. “I’ve never been that far away from home before.”

The Grade 7 student found out in late August that her four-minute video had won her the trip to the nation’s capital.

She will be one of two students from the NWT to participate in this year’s Young Citizens program.

The other is Shae McMahon of Paul William Kaeser High School in Fort Smith. His video is entitled Raised in the Hood? and examines traditional clothing in the North.

The two NWT students will be attending a Canada’s History Youth Forum for 26 winners between the ages of 10 and 15 years from across the country.

It’s part of the Young Citizens program, a complementary component to heritage fairs focussing on citizenship. It is an annual event where students present the results of their research on Canadian heroes, legends and key events in the country’s history.

Participants in the program make a short video about their heritage fair topic, much like an evening news report or short documentary. The videos are then posted online.

An online public vote also takes place from mid-June to early July. The results of the popular vote make up 50 per cent of a student’s final score.

Following the vote, a panel of judges reviews the videos and selects two students per province and territory for the trip to Ottawa in the fall.

Smith, who will be turning 12 on Nov. 7, expects the trip to Ottawa will be fun.

Stephanie Patterson, the teacher who organized the heritage fair at Princess Alexandra School, said she is very proud of Rochelle.

Patterson plans to organize another heritage fair this school year and believes there is more interest and excitement in the event among students because of Smith’s success.

“I feel that there definitely is,” said the teacher. “We had a really nice turnout last year for the heritage fair. I have a sneaking suspicion that we’ll end up with a few more.”

About 20 students at Princess Alexandra participated in the heritage fair held during the past school year.

–Paul Bickford