Friday, June 22nd
For countless schools across New Brunswick, 2012 marked another fantastic year of students learning about their collective heritage. The fairs began at the school level, then moved to the regional’s and finally, over 20 students with 15 projects were selected to participate in the provincial showcase in Gagetown.
It was on the damp evening of June 22nd in Gagetown, when the students began to arrive at the Queen’s County Court House, eager to begin their weekend brimming with activities. The students registered with the counselors and were given both an information pack and two heritage fair t-shirts to wear during their visit.
At 7:00 p.m. everybody congregated beside the Tiley House museum, and friendships quickly bonded. It was evident that the crowd was buzzing with excitement as the opening ceremonies began. The mayor of Gagetown, the MLA of the area, and the Queen’s County Heritage president each welcomed the students to the town, observing the significant effort to reach the provincial level. Each student was given a bowl from a local potter in recognition.
Sunday, June 24th
Groggy from sleeping (or not) in the cold barracks, the participants were able to experience the Argonaught showers. What an experience they were. Seemingly designed for the purpose of maximum discomfort, the freezing water certainly woke everybody up. Breakfast, on the other hand, was a more extraordinary experience. The hospitable staff treated students to a breakfast that could… feed an army. Food was heaped onto each person’s plate and ravenously devoured; nobody went hungry. For many, the extra seconds were a highlight of the excursion.
After belongings were packed, the camp was bid farewell and the group clambered again into the bus. On the way back to the courthouse, the bus erupted yet again into the strain of our national anthem: O Canada. Soon the bus had arrived at its destination, and students began to prepare their presentations for the ending ceremony. The creators of each project were interviewed and photographed by the alumni students.
At 10:00 that morning, a remembrance ceremony was held for all of the towns that were evacuated in the construction of CFB Gagetown. A number of speakers presented including the Honorable Graydon Nicholas and a former member of one of the communities. Flowers were planted in the garden for remembrance of these villages.
The showcase participants then went back inside to the judges’ room where t-shirt signing took place. His honor Graydon Nicholas was also present for this event, signing each participant’s shirt. Snacks were provided with the common theme of “apples”.
The opening ceremonies soon began with the well-practiced strain of O Canada. The honorable Graydon Nicholas congratulated students on their dedications, saying that when the students were given an opportunity, history came alive. Each student was then called to the front of the room to receive a medal, from the Lieutenant-Governor. Projects were soon presented and refreshments were served, allowing for pictures to be taken with the Lieutenant-Governer. Goodbyes were said between friends and emails were exchanged before driving back home.
In the end, the hard work of the students digging through the archives, the internet and their grandma’s old attic paid off. Everybody had a wonderful, enlightening and fun weekend in the historic town of Gagetown.