CCI students document local heritage
Some of the students involved with the CCI history video project with Collingwood & District Historical Society member Peter Case (far right): back row, from left, Phillip Kelly, Jaden Dankevy, Lucas McDonald. In front, Hannah Brown, Devon Viragh, and Sophia Spencer.
COLLINGWOOD — A group of high school students has captured pieces of local history as part of a project to archive and promote the heritage of the community.
On Monday night, the first three videos chronicling the impact of the Second World War were shown to members of the Collingwood and District Historical Society, as the historical society and Collingwood Museum officially launched its Patrons of Collingwood’s Heritage program.
The purpose of the Patrons program will be to foster appreciation for the history of the community through audio/visual vignettes produced by students in Collingwood Collegiate’s Canada and World Studies program.
The project was funded through a grant from the Town of Collingwood, the Ontario’s Business for the Arts artsVest funding program, and Cranberry Resort.
“This is a step forward in presenting broader knowledge of local history,” said historical society member Peter Case, who spearheaded the project. “At the end of the day, the town’s heritage will be more alive than ever.”
Canada and World Studies teacher Mike McMillan said the school used it as an opportunity to work local history topics into the curriculum.
One group of students produced a video on ‘home front’ issues such as the purchase of Victory Bonds and rationing; a second video focused on work in the Collingwood Shipyards, and included an interview with Emma Wilson, one of the last of a group of women who worked as a welder in the yard during the Second World War; and Clyde Aircraft, which manufactured parts for the Mosquito bomber.
“We always do a World War II movie project, and World War II is of high interest to the kids, and Collingwood played a pretty vital role in the war effort on the home front,” said McMillan. “We looked at the topics we already had as local history topics, and meshed that with what (the historical society) was looking for.
“They were sort of wide open on what they wanted, so we made it work within the curriculum.”
Grade 10 student Khaleel Gandhi was one of the lead students on the project, and enjoyed both the technical side of the productions, as well as the opportunity to understand the heritage of the community.
Gandhi worked specifically on the production of the vignette on Clyde Aircraft.
“It was a very interactive project, and it was really cool… that we got to learn about local history and what Clyde Aircraft did to support (Canada’s efforts in) World War II,” said Gandhi. “I learned a lot about Collingwood, and just working with the other people in my group, it was a lot of fun putting together this project.”
Two more videos are in production, and the goal is to build up a sizable compilation of videos documenting the heritage of Collingwood. The videos will be shown at historical society meetings, at the museum, and in the lobby of Cranberry Resort.
Membership in the Patron of Collingwood’s Heritage Program is $42.60 annually, and includes a membership to the museum as well as the historical society. In addition to supporting the production of videos, revenue from membership fees will be made available to the Canada and World Studies department at CCI to promote additional local history activities for students.
McMillan said having the students produce the videos is a good learning experience on how to put together a project based on primary research.
“The difference for the kids doing the project versus (what’s regularly done at school), is the students had access to primary research,” he said. “They were in the library looking at actual newspapers, they were looking in the archives of the Clyde Aircraft-produced newspaper, photographs, and interviewed Emma Wilson.
“It worked out really well and they have some great projects here.”
It also gives the students insight into their own community, said McMillan.
“A lot of them don’t know the importance of the shipyard to this community, or Clyde Aircraft, and it gets them to do things they’re interested in, using the technology,” he said. “And in the end, the Collingwood Museum, the library, the historical society, have these productions they can keep and watch again.”