For children, their choice of hero comes with a simple explanation.
For Mackewen Wick, 12, John Diefenbaker is a hero because he “planned our future,” the youngster explained during a Heritage Fair at Turgeon Catholic Community School last week.
“He was prime minister and also from Prince Albert,” Wick said. “There’s lots of stuff named after him -- a bridge and a public school.”
A trip to the Diefenbaker House Museum further inspired Wick, during which museum staff gave him a special privilege.
“They let me go in closer – under the ropes,” he said. “It was kind of amazing, really.”
Last week, Wick’s display on John Diefenbaker was one of many that were set up in the school’s gymnasium for the public to view.
“They were to choose something of interest based on heritage of Canada,” organizing teacher Nicole Neisz explained.
“The students put in a lot of effort -- they did an amazing job on their reports and their research.”
Many students took this opportunity to highlight a Canadian hero of theirs, like Wick did with John Diefenbaker.
For Quentin Stevens, 11, First Nations hero Poundmaker stuck out in an Internet search he did on Canadian heritage figures.
“He never gave up for his people -- he always protected them,” Stevens said of Poundmaker. “He took care of them.”
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Nova Scotia civil rights activist Viola Desmond, who, as an African-Canadian, was made famous for sitting in a theatre’s white section in 1946, struck the fancy of Annakah Ratt, 10.
“People were being racist to her, so she stood up for what she thought was right, but she got sent to jail,” Ratt said.
“Back then there was a lot of racism, so there’s, like, a coloured section and a white section,” she added, noting that Desmond helped future generations realize that this is wrong.
World War II veteran and Victoria Cross recipient Andy Mynarski is a hero to Adaiar Shiers, 10.
“He saved his friend and he died for us,” Shiers said. “Without him we would have never had freedom.”
Cree lawyer and political leader Harold Cardinal is a hero to Daysha Halkett, 10, who dressed up in traditional First Nations regalia to highlight her culture during the Heritage Fair.
“He showed people that First Nations people need help,” she said of Cardinal. “When he grew up he found out that First Nations people were being treated rudely by the government.”
For Eric Halkett, 12, it wasn’t a real-life hero that attracted his attention, but comic book superhero Superman.
“He’s my hero,” Halkett said of Superman. “He saves the people … I think he’s the coolest (superhero).”
The students put in a lot of effort -- they did an amazing job on their reports and their research. - Teacher Nicole Neisz
Co-created by Canadian Joe Shuster, Superman is important to Canadian heritage, Halkett said, noting that he’s a hero because he keeps people safe.
Nine-year-old friends Nova-Lee Preston and Autumn Ratt both looked to the animal kingdom for their heritage heroes, agreeing that the red fox is the “coolest.”
“They can hear from a long way and they can almost run faster than a deer,” Preston said.
“When they’re born, their eyes are closed, and also when they’re born they’re black with a pink mouth and a pink nose.”
“They’re cute,” Ratt said. “They have 42 teeth!”
Cody Riddoch, 11, prefers the snake, deeming the carnivorous reptile the “coolest” for its ability to move around without legs and for being able to swallow a basketball.
Throughout the Turgeon Catholic Community School were various other displays, featuring cultural clothing or items, personal heroes and favourite animals -- all displaying students interest in culture, Neisz said.
“It’s an amazing fair,” she said. “They did an amazing job.”