The 2021 Virtual Heritage Fair has begun in earnest, as judges are now busy evaluating a diverse set of online Heritage Fair projects. The judging will take place throughout the month of May and we will be announcing the winners mid-June.

This year, we had 315 projects by 353 students from 41 schools across Saskatchewan. There is a great range of topics, from personal family stories and local history to projects about global events. Some classes chose a theme this year, including one where each student undertook a project about a Canadian person of colour from throughout history. These included more well-known recent athletes, mid-20th century activists, and those from the more distant past. Some were fairly recognisable and needed little introduction, while others are less so. This carries over into most of the projects, where there are stories about local families and small Saskatchewan communities, and also stories about many well-known figures and events. Yet, no matter how much we think we know, there is always something new and something to learn when looking at a topic with fresh eyes.

There is something to learn and admire about each of the projects, whether they are art or poetry in our new Creative Presentation category, written essays, audio-books, videos, photos, PowerPoints, or a mixture of all of these. The students (ranging from grades 4 to 8) did excellent research and made beautiful presentations. Some are shorter than others. Some have included supplementary videos and resources to enhance their online displays. Take the time to look around at them!

We had a range of schools participate this year in what has been a challenging environment. Some schools are even participating for the first time! Everyone took on the challenge of creating or adapting their projects to fit a virtual medium. We hope that no matter how the students chose to do this, you are able to learn from them and appreciate their work.

This being our second year of the Virtual Heritage Fair, we were able to improve upon some issues from last year. For 2022, we look forward to integrating our Virtual Heritage Fair into our existing in-person Heritage Fairs season (which has of course been on a two-year hiatus). We miss being able to interact with each other in real time and gather together to celebrate. Yet the Virtual Heritage Fair also has advantages: more students can participate and students can use different tools to present their projects. More members of the community can also participate in that we can view the projects at our own pace. We hope that the two contests can complement each other into the future.

So, sit down, relax, and enjoy the wonderful work this year's students have created, and the stories that they have to tell!

(Check out our social media for updates about winners and our virtual award ceremony!)