Living Heritage: Our values, beliefs and ways of life shape our sense of identity, belonging and place, connecting past, present and future.

FAQs - High School Heritage Challenge


Kristin Catherwood | fromthegap.com

FAQs - About Projects

Does the project have to be about family history, or specifically about Saskatchewan?
No, it can be about anything relating to Canada. Students are encouraged to choose a topic that they enjoy and want to learn more about. (Teachers do have the option to assign specific topics - see next question.)

Can the teacher assign specific topics?
Teachers can choose to assign specific topics if that works best for them or their class. In order to be eligible for the contest, the topics need to be related to Canada, so teachers are discouraged from assigning topics that would prevent students from participating.

How long ago did something have to happen, or how old does something have to be, before it is considered ‘heritage’?
Living Heritage is about the past, present, and future. It does not matter how old something is for it to be considered heritage.

Are science topics acceptable?
Absolutely. Science is a big part of our heritage.

What about sports? Artists? Movies? Does it matter how famous someone is?
Any of these could be potential topics, as long as they relate to Canada in some way. It does not matter how famous someone is or was. Someone who is very famous to a student might be someone that the judges have never heard about!
For the High School Heritage Challenge, judges will be looking for more than just facts about a person's life or career. Judges will be looking for their impact on Canada (or a part of Canada) and/or globally; what makes them stand out; how they are portrayed in the popular imagination; and the personal reason(s) why the student chose to do their project on them.

Can a student do a project about a fictional character or story?
Yes, as long as that character or story is connected to Canada and has had an impact on the Canadian identity. (Simply being portrayed by a Canadian actor in a movie would not count, for example.)
Students can create a fictional character of their own in order to present their topic, but the project cannot be about that character.

What about something that did not happen in Canada or is not entirely Canadian?
Many events that happened in other countries have a Canadian connection (such as a war that Canadians participated in). Some people move away from Canada for their careers, such as actors, but they still have a connection to Canada. Non-Canadians who have lived in or partially live in Canada can also be acceptable topics.
If a student is interested in a topic that is predominantly not Canadian, a suggestion would be to find Canadian connections to that topic and use that as the basis for their project. 

Can a student do a project about something that took place in areas bordering Canada?
If there is still a connection to Canada, yes. An example would be any topic relating to Indigenous peoples whose traditional territories are now crossed by international borders.

Can a student do a project about their family's heritage in another country?
Yes. The student and their family are themselves a connection to Canada.

Can a student do a project about another country (as a topic)?
Yes, but they need to make a connection to Canada in some way. For example, a student might want to do a project about a country that their ancestors used to live in. A good choice of topic would be to compare Canada to another country, discuss the trading relationships between Canada and another country, the ongoing influence of another country on Canada, or reasons why people immigrated to Canada from that country.

What if a student is still not sure if the topic that they are interested in studying  is eligible for the High School Heritage Challenge?
They can always check with their teacher. If their teacher is not sure either, the teacher, the student or the parent can check with Heritage Saskatchewan.
If a student submits a project that is not readily connected to Canada, their project will still be included and judged.

What if a topic is controversial?
If a teacher or student is uneasy about a topic being controversial, they should check with Heritage Saskatchewan. If a student does good research and is respectful in preparing their project, almost any topic relating to Canada is acceptable.

What if a topic, no matter how respectfully presented, would contain offensive material?
Some topics may contain offensive material regardless. For example, doing a project about the history of hate groups in Saskatchewan would likely mean having photographs of said hate groups in the project. These topics should be done very carefully, but they are still acceptable. Because this is an online contest, Heritage Saskatchewan reserves the right to hide photographs (so that they will not appear without warning or context) and to disable direct links if they do not conform to our organisation’s values. Students must use extreme caution when linking to third-party videos (even if used as a source) and must avoid using shock value as part of their presentation.

Could a class split up one larger topic and create separate but related projects? (For example, doing different projects that together tell the history of the community that the school is in.)
Yes, this would be acceptable. Because there is no limit to how many projects a class or school can submit, the separate projects could all be submitted and viewed in their entirety. However, they would all be judged separately.

Is there anything that would be considered a “bad” topic?
There is no such thing as a “bad” topic, but a topic can be poorly handled. Also, a “bad” (rather, "not good") topic would be one which has no connection to Canada or wherein the connection to Canada cannot be readily inferred.

Are any topics preferred over others?
All projects are judged on their own merits. Students are judged on their presentation, research, and critical thinking.

Is it cultural appropriation if a student creates a project about an aspect of a cultural group that they are not a part of?
No, but the student needs to do good research and be respectful in presenting their project, especially if they want to include a costume*. They must be mindful that members of whichever cultural group they are depicting may be among the other students, judges, online viewers, etc..
*If the student participates in an aspect of a cultural group (such as dance), wearing a uniform, costume, or regalia that they have earned in this capacity is entirely acceptable. 

Is there anything to be avoided in presenting one's High School Heritage Challenge topic?
Please do not include any of the following:

  • Black-/yellow-/red-face makeup; [painting one’s face to look dirty to portray a miner, a railroad worker, a disaster victim, etc. is acceptable]
  • Sexualised costumes;
  • Gratuitous sexual content;
  • Raunchy or deliberately nasty humour;
  • Racist/sexist phrases, cartoons, videos, or models (without historical context);
  • Content expressing overt, non-historical racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQ+ views, etc.
  • Links to content (i.e. websites) expressing overt, non-historical racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQ+ views, etc.

Can students include games and quizzes in their presentation?
Yes, as long as it is an original creation by the student. If students want to create a game, they need to make the file playable on a web-browser or within a larger file (like a PowerPoint presentation).

What about copyright infringement online, especially in videos?
Educational projects fall under “fair dealing” for copyright purposes. Therefore, as long as students document their sources and give credit for photos, video clips, etc., their projects are not infringing on copyright.
For further information about Copyright, check out our Plagiarism & Copyright page!

Can students include copyrighted music in their projects?
As long as credit is given, music falls under “fair dealing” if it is part of a video or audio clip in a project about the performers or writers of that music. It also falls under “fair dealing” if the student sings the song or a portion thereof, or if the student parodies the song.
However, music does not fall under “fair dealing” if it is being featured in a project on a topic unrelated to the performers or writers, especially if it is just as background music. For example, a clip of “My Heart Will Go On” is fair dealing in a project about Celine Dion (the song’s singer), but not in a project about the Titanic disaster. Students can obtain written permission from the copyright holder of any piece of music, but they are encouraged to use royalty-free music.

NOTE: Online algorithms often cannot distinguish between "fair dealing" and copyright violations. When it comes to music and video content, students should err on the side of caution and avoid including copyrighted material in the project itself. A better idea would be to link to the video or music directly.

What about videos, such as Heritage Minutes? Can students include these in their projects?
As long as credit is given (especially if the clip is linked from the project directly to the copyright holder’s website or social media channel), students can include videos or video clips that they did not produce themselves. They can also include these clips directly into their own videos as long as credit is given.

NOTE: Online algorithms often cannot distinguish between "fair dealing" and copyright violations. When it comes to music and video content, students should err on the side of caution and avoid including copyrighted material in the project itself. A better idea would be to link to the video or music directly.

What documentation do students (or their teachers) need to provide to Heritage Saskatchewan to prove that there is no copyright infringement in their project?
If a student explicitly received written permission in a situation where it is warranted, a copy of that email would be sufficient. (The email would remain in the project file and not be part of the project online.) Otherwise, no documentation is required.

Does “fair dealing” still apply when there is a contest aspect to the High School Heritage Challenge?
Yes. These are still educational resources and the primary purpose of this contest is education. Neither the student nor Heritage Saskatchewan is profiting financially from the projects.

How do students need to cite their sources?
For the High School Heritage Challenge, students need to include a list of References for their project. This is a minimum requirement. The list of sources can be included in the project or as a separate file. Projects without a list of sources will not be judged.
For further information about References, check out our 
Plagiarism & Copyright page!

What language can a project be in?
Projects will be accepted in any language. Projects can also be bilingual or multi-lingual. For projects that are not in English, the student should submit an English version of the title and a short (one-sentence) description of the topic. This will help Heritage Saskatchewan promote the project.  
Please note that English-language projects should use Canadian English spellings, as specified in the Saskatchewan curriculum. Students should adjust any spellchecking programs accordingly. 

Do students need to always use Canadian English spelling?
The exception is for proper names that are written with an alternative spelling (i.e. Pearl Harbor, [American] Center for Disease Control). This can include locations or groups in Canada as well, especially historically. If a word is not part of a proper name, it should be spelled in Canadian English.

Do all projects have to be videos?
No.

Do all projects have to include photos?
No. However, a still photo (even of a screenshot or a title page) is helpful in promoting the project.

Do students need to include a photo or video of themselves?
No. A student can create a project without including their image. If they want to create a video, they do not have to appear on camera.

 

FAQs - About the Process

Is the High School Heritage Challenge always going to be online only?
Yes, that is the plan as of 2022.

Who is eligible to participate in the High School Heritage Challenge?
Any student in Grades 9, 10, 11, or 12 who is eighteen (18) years of age or younger. Homeschooled students are eligible.

Do teachers/schools have to pick winners from their classes to submit projects to the High School Heritage Challenge?
No, there is no need for an in-class or in-school contest. Students simply have to create their projects and submit them to the province-wide contest online.

Can students submit projects to the High School Heritage Challenge independently?
Yes.

Do teachers have to register for the High School Heritage Challenge?
No. However, advance registration helps Heritage Saskatchewan plan the event and keep track of who is participating. If we know that a school or a student has registered, we can provide better follow-up and track down any projects lost in cyberspace.
To register, please email Katherine Gilks directly.

If I [as a teacher] register my class for the High School Heritage Challenge, do all of my students have to submit their projects?
No, not all students in a registered class have to submit their projects to the High School Heritage Challenge.

If teachers or students register in advance, can they decide not to participate?
Yes.

If a student wants to participate independently, do they have to register in advance?
Students can register at the same time that they submit their project, but if they register in advance, Heritage Saskatchewan will be on the lookout for their project.
To register, please email Katherine Gilks directly.

If a student is registered to participate (either as part of a class or independently) and then moves to a different school before the deadline, can they still participate?
Yes, students who change schools during the school year can still participate in the High School Heritage Challenge. If they move out of province, they can still participate, but only for that same school year, not in subsequent years unless they moved back to Saskatchewan.

Can students participate in partners?
Yes, students can work together in partners. If they won one of the bursaries, the bursary would be split between them.

Can students participate in groups?
Yes, students can work together in groups. If they won one of the bursaries, the bursary would be split between them.

Can students outside of the eligible grades participate?
Students in Grade 8 can also participate if working with older students. Students in grade 8 or younger are instead encouraged to participate in the Virtual Heritage Fair.

Can a Grade 8 student submit a project alone?
If a Grade 8 student submits a project alone, their project will be entered into the Virtual Heritage Fair. 

What about students in younger grades?
All projects by students younger than Grade 9 will be entered into the Virtual Heritage Fair.

What about recent high school graduates?
In order to participate, students must be still enrolled in high school. Students cannot partner with a recent graduate (such as a sibling who graduated the previous year). Like any friend or family member, recent graduates can assist younger friends or siblings in making videos as long as the younger student is the creator of the project.

Can teenagers who are not in school participate?
In order to participate, students must be still enrolled in high school. If a student is not in classes during the semester (or equivalent unit) of the High School Heritage Challenge due to extenuating circumstances, such as illness, they can still participate.

How do split-grade projects get evaluated?
Split-grade projects are evaluated based on the grade of the oldest student regardless of the age gap between them, unless there is a specific reason to evaluate them at a lower level (which would be determined on a case-by-case basis).

How does judging work?
Each project is evaluated by three* judges. Judges work with what is presented to them and cannot ask questions directly. 
*The scores from all judges are averaged for a final score.

How many times can a student compete in the High School Heritage Challenge?
They can compete as many times as they want until they have completed Grade 12.

Can award-winners participate in subsequent years?
Yes. There are no limits to how many awards a student can earn.

Can students who have formerly participated in Heritage Fairs compete in the High School Heritage Challenge?
Yes. 

How much work is required from participating teachers for the High School Heritage Challenge?
Heritage Saskatchewan asks teachers to promote the High School Heritage Challenge in their school/community. Teachers can provide support for their students: introduce them to the topics, guide them in their research, assist with online submission, etc.  It is ultimately up to the teacher how much they want to be involved.

If a teacher does not register, can their students still participate?
Yes, as long as the students register and submit their projects by the deadline. 

Is there any process for if a student was (or seemed to be) judged unfairly?
All decisions are final. Heritage Saskatchewan must trust the judges’ evaluations, especially as the judges do so remotely. Every effort is made to ensure a fair and equitable judging process.
Teachers, parents, or judges can discuss an issue of unfairness (actual or perceived) with Heritage Saskatchewan to make recommendations for future years. If necessary, an official apology to the student will be issued.

What counts as a conflict of interest for a judge?
Particularly for non-English projects, the pool of available judges may be limited. Having met a student previously, or being acquainted with their parents, is not automatically a conflict of interest.
Judges cannot evaluate projects by their own children/grandchildren, own students, nieces/nephews, or children of close friends. Judges also cannot evaluate projects by students from the school that they teach at or by students who are classmates/friends of their children. It is also a conflict of interest if the judge was directly involved in the project (i.e. taking the student on a museum tour). Judges are required to declare their conflicts of interest. Judges can also request to be re-assigned if they were unaware of a conflict of interest when they initially volunteered.

What does not count as a conflict of interest for a judge?
Particularly for non-English projects, the pool of available judges may be limited. Having met a child previously, or being acquainted with their parents, is not automatically a conflict of interest.
Judges can evaluate projects by students that they have formerly taught if the students no longer attend the same school that the judges are currently teaching at and at least two years have passed since they taught them. Judges can evaluate projects by students who attend a school that their child(ren) formerly attended. Judges can evaluate projects by students from their community. Judges can evaluate projects that are about them (or a group that they belong to) as long as they themselves were not involved in the project.

How will projects in different languages be evaluated against each other?
All projects will be evaluated on the same criteria. In order to evaluate a project, a judge must be able to functionally communicate in the language of the project. 
Every effort is made to ensure a fair and equitable judging process. Because communication is one of the elements that students are being evaluated on, a student’s command of the language of their project remains a factor in how they are judged. (Judges are reminded to take into account that students may be presenting in their second or third [or more] language.)

Why does Heritage Saskatchewan include both a student's first and last names?
Heritage Saskatchewan believes that students should be given full credit for their work, especially if they win a prize. Likewise, including the school name gives credit to the school. This is the type of non-confidential information generally included in news articles about students’ achievements.

What measures does Heritage Saskatchewan take to protect the privacy of the students online?
No student’s personal contact information will be displayed. Only their name, grade, school, and the community in which their school is located will be included with their project. Heritage Saskatchewan endeavours to protect student privacy, but our organisation is not responsible if student-produced content includes personal identifying information.

Is it mandatory to include a student’s full name, grade, etc.? What if there are additional concerns?
Teachers and parents can arrange with Heritage Saskatchewan to accommodate individual students who have additional privacy concerns. Additional measures may include using a pseudonym, withholding the community and school name, keeping the grade level confidential (except to the judges), ensuring that no photos of the student are publically viewable, or keeping the project off the public platform entirely. These measures would be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Do students need to include a photo or video of themselves?
No. A student can create a project without including their image. If they want to create a video, they do not have to appear on camera.

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