Long Beach student travels to Ottawa with Young Citizens

Reprinted from The Packet, October 28, 2015
by Jonathan Parsons

Katie Kelly, a Grade 6 student at Southwest Arm Academy, says she really enjoyed her trip to Ottawa.

Young Citizens outside Rideau Hall in Ottawa. (Abigail Snook photo)

It was all thanks to the Young Citizens program, which saw her Heritage Fair project chosen as one of two winners from Newfoundland and Labrador.

Katie did her project on a topic near to her heart and her family’s history, her great-grandfather.

Called “The Resilient Newfoundlander and Labradorian”, Katie was proud to share the story of Wilson Vey, who survived being lost at sea with his crew aboard a small fishing schooner for nine days and nights in 1933. She says the men were rescued on their last hour and returned home on Christmas Day.

Katie’s teacher Mrs. Rowsell nominated her for the program.

“We made our Heritage Fair projects and then we went to regionals in Trinity,” said Katie. “The judges decided and selected two Young Citizens from each region to make a video about their Heritage Fair project and post it online.”

Katie Kelly at the Parliament Library (Abigail Snook photo)

From regional Heritage Fairs 150 students were chosen to compete; 50 per cent of the final grade was based on online voting, while the other 50 per cent was decided by national judges.

“It was a lot of hard work, but in the end it all came together,” said Katie. “It was really fun learning about my family’s history.”

She was one of two representatives from the province, joining 24 other students from across the country on a special trip to Ottawa last week. It was the very first time she had visited Ontario.

The trip was organized through EF Tours and she got to see a lot in her four-day visit.

She toured downtown Ottawa, visited Parliament Hill and the Peace Tower, the War Memorial, the Bytown Museum, Rideau Hall, the Canadian Museum of History and the Canadian War Museum.

On Saturday, the Young Citizens attended a Youth Forum meeting and History Maker’s dinner.

The Young Citizens at the History Maker’s Dinner (Abigail Snook Photo)

Katie wanted to thank her teacher Mrs. Rowsell, chaperone Abigail Snook of Historic Sites, and Canada’s History for the great experience.

“It was lots of fun,” said Katie, adding she learned a lot about the history of Canada and made plenty of friends from all over the country.

Katie’s mom, Lori Kelly, says it was a great trip for her daughter.

“For somebody for such a small school to (get this opportunity), most of the (other) kids came from big schools,” said Lori. “She’s from a tiny community of 70 people. She had a fantastic trip, but we’re glad to have her home safe and sound, though.”