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April 25th, 2008 | posted by admin
Submitted by Matthew Kuiken, Teacher – Thomas Fiddler Memorial High School
View photos from the Science Fair HERE.
On Monday April 7th 2008 six students and three teachers arrived in Thunder Bay to participate in the Northwestern Regional Science Fair. These six students were the top three science fair projects at Thomas Fiddler Memorial High School in Sandy Lake First Nation.There were over one-hundred fifty science fair projects at the Northwestern Regional Science Fair that took place at C.J. Saunders Field house at Lakehead University. The six students from Thomas Fiddler Memorial High School were the only contestants that came from a first nation community.
During the time spent in Thunder Bay the teacher chaperones received numerous accolades about how very social and polite the students were with the contestants and facilitators at the science fair. The students were given a tour of the University’s facilities and campus. During the tour they were able to socialize with people who help run the university and other local students from the science fair. Coming from a community that doesn’t have pavement, streetlights, or technologically advanced classrooms, this was a lifetime experience for these students, one that they will remember for years to come.
The students also participated in the Science Olympics. They were give materials to construct a frame that would be able to hold up two large books. Students of T.F.M.H.S. built a frame resembling a teepee, which held the books up with ease. Ernest Rae and Dylan Brunton also incorporated first nation knowledge into their Science Fair project on the Solar System which included the first nation legend about Chakabesh snaring the sun.
“It was fun on our trip to the Regional Science Fair in Thunder Bay. I was kind of nervous because there was lots of people and lots of other different projects. There wasn’t any two projects the same, they were all different. There was some really interesting projects too!” – Claudette Linklater
“I had so much fun while I was in Thunder Bay! The slushies over there were so huge! Everything was so high tech and there were so many stores!” – Dakotah Meekis
All six students received a participation award for entering their project into the science fair. Though the students never received any other awards, we were extremely proud of the effort they put into their projects and how they presented themselves while in Thunder Bay.
T.F.M.H.S. teachers Marcel Linklater, Don Matthews and David Kakegamic worked very hard organizing and arranging things to make the Science Fair Trip possible. Having something for students to work for increases their motivation. The experience that these students receive by going to the Northwestern Regional Science Fair is extraordinary. Some of the students that participated have never been to Thunder Bay, others have not been off the reserve for many years. It is very expensive to get in and out of remote, isolated first nation communities and for the students to have an opportunity such as this is life changing.
Sandy Lake First Nation works very hard to provide young people with opportunities to learn. The Band Council and Board of Education work together to give students in Sandy Lake the best opportunities. This past winter, Sandy Lake encouraged and supported the peewee, bantam, and midget hockey teams to participate in the Little Bands Hockey Tournament in Sioux Lookout. The ladies broomball league also entered a team in a broomball tournament in Sioux Lookout. T.F.M.H.S. coordinated a winter camping excursion for the special education students. T.F.M.H.S. is also working with the community to put together the first Sandy Lake high school lacrosse team.
Sandy Lake is an excellent example of a first nation community doing constructive things to make a more positive learning environment for young people!
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