Jack Dwyer now knows how many places the Stanley Cup visits each year; Payton Smith found out there is a piece of Canada on the moon.
The two Island elementary-school students took a fresh look at a couple of well-known topics for their school Heritage Fair projects and have received national recognition for it. Payton Smith, a 6th-grader at Eliot River Elementary, chose Canadian Space Achievements as her topic while Jack Dwyer, who is in grade 6 at École François-Buote featured La Coupe Stanley (the Stanley Cup) in his research.
The two PEI students are attending Canada’s History’s Youth Forum in Ottawa November 26-29. Their journey started when their projects were selected to advance to the Provincial Heritage Fair in May, 2016. From there they were among 12 provincial finalists from grades 5 through 9 chosen to participate in the national Young Citizens video contest.
Out of more than 200 videos submitted to the national contest, two were chosen from each province and territory to attend the Youth Forum. Payton and Jack were the two selected to represent Prince Edward Island.
“The most interesting thing I learned about my topic was that Canadians developed the landing gear for the Apollo Lunar Lander,” explained Payton, who said she wanted to celebrate Canada’s many space achievements – from astronauts and Apollo lunar landing Gear, to satellites, and the Canadarm.
Payton says she was inspired by Cmdr. Chris Hadfield’s broadcasts from the International Space Station. She was also impressed to learn that the invention of the Canadarm inspired other innovations such as the robotic KidsArm used in surgery at Toronto Sick Kids Hospital.
“(Canadian) gear was used on all six moon landings; there is a piece of Canada on the moon!” she said. “I also learned what it takes to become an astronaut, so rather than just dream about it, I can be it by working hard.”
Jack’s more down-to-earth topic researching hockey’s biggest prize led to filming his video in French at a local hockey rink. He said he didn’t grasp the significance of the cup when he started his work. He was inspired to learn the history of the cup and details of how hard a hockey team has to work to earn a chance to claim it.
“I didn’t realize how busy the schedule of the cup is or how special it is to hockey fans,” Jack explained.
As a young hockey player, winning the cup is one of Jack’s dreams. “It’s also a passion that helps fuel the hard work: to one day, hopefully be able to have my name inscribed on the cup like many greats.”
Honourable mention also went to two Island students: Basel Al Rashdan of St. Jean Elementary for “My Journey” and Luc Doucette of École Spring Park for “Le pont de la Confédération”.