Project Profile

Project Title:
Life Stories & Legacies
Imagineaction Social Action Projects
School Name:
Oak Lake Community School
School board / First Nations school jurisdiction:
Fort La Bosse School Division
Project Theme:
  • Connect [relationships]
  • Engage [active & participatory citizenship]
  • Lead [leadership]
Grade Level:
7, 8
Subject Areas:
English, Social Sciences and Humanities, Technological Education
Oak Lake
Community Partners:
Oak Lake Seniors Access To Independent Living – Tanis Podobni
Oak Lake Museum Board – Doreen Schmidt

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Life Stories & Legacies

One of the main goals at Oak Lake Community School is to foster a relationship with our community members. One of the greatest resources in our town is our citizens, and what better way to celebrate community than to share and present the life stories of our local elders. As an extension of our school’s philosophy of community building, our grade 7/8 class will complete the Life Stories & Legacies project, presenting biographies on local seniors. This is an annual project at our school, and our goal is to record, present and preserve as many seniors’ life stories as we can, from year to year.

Students will select an elder (hopefully a grandparent), and conduct a formal interview gathering facts for a written biography. They will also conduct background research relevant to local, national and international events that took place during the elder’s lifetime. Pictures, maps and diagrams will be used where available and appropriate.

A bound anthology of biographies will be published. A copy will be presented to each elder. As well, a copy will be added to our school’s library collection and presented to our Oak Lake Museum.

As a closure to the project, these life stories will be presented at a special event hosted by the school. Families, dignitaries and community members will be invited to attend this event, and celebrate the lives presented in the biography projects. This will be our opportunity to honor our senior’s achievements and formally present them with their biographies. All students will be actively involved in every aspect of the project, from developing initial questions for their first interview session with the elder, to the hands on planning and organization of the final event. Students will be encouraged to work together throughout the writing process, as they edit and provide feedback on each others work. They will be making democratic decisions as a group to complete this exciting citizenship-building project.

Update (May-06-13)

Students are working hard on completing their "Life Stories & Legacies" biography projects. Each of the students has created a list of interview questions and completed some background research into their family tree. A local community volunteer has been helping students research their family backgrounds. Students have been accessing local historical information as well. All of the students have interviewed their grandparents, and are well into the writing process. Drafts have been handed in to their teacher for feedback, and students are adding information and correcting their writing for grammar and spelling. Final projects are due on Wednesday, May 8th. Once all of the final projects are handed in, the teacher will combine them all into an anthology publication, which will include a cover, introduction and table of contents. This "Life Stories & Legacies" anthology will then be published.

We will also be setting a date for the special "Life Stories & Legacies" event. Once we know when the print house is done with the books we will be setting a date and inviting each of these grandparents to attend a special tea, along with other local dignitaries. Each grandparent will be presented with their own copy of the book, and copies will be cataloged in our school library and local museum.

The quality of the work presented so far is very good, and we are very enthusiastic about the stories and memories that are being shared by our participants. These books will be treasured by our community, school, students and their families for many years to come.

Update (June-24-13)

On Tuesday, June 18th, the grade 7/8 class presented their Life Stories and Legacies biographies to each of their grandparents. This Heritage Fair event was very well attended by families and community members. One of the main goals of this project is to foster a relationship between generations, and what better way to celebrate the seniors who participated in the project than to record their valuable life stories. The young people who participated in this project were able to connect with their grandparents on a new level and appreciate their contributions to Canadian history. Our elders are a rich resource, and their life stories are rich and engaging. Recording these memories and sharing this history has been more than a school project - it has become a valuable learning experience in which our young people have connected history with real life!

We would like to acknowledge the generosity of each of our participants for allowing us to share their life stories. We hope they feel honored as their stories are included in this anthology of life stories and legacies. Our students should also be very proud of the fine work that they have produced for this publication. They completed the writing process with a final, published biography included in this anthology. The countless hours that their teachers and volunteers have spent on these projects is also appreciated.

This project was completed in character education lessons as part of our community school program. Grant funds that were generously provided from the Canadian Teachers' Federation-Imagineaction made this project a reality, in addition to support from our school division and Heritage Canada.

Thank you for the support. We very much appreciate the grant we have received from the Imagineaction that has made this valued project possible!