Carla Cooke and Tracey Salamondra

Recipients of the 2022 Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching

November 14, 2022
Tracey Salamondra (left) and Carla Cooke (right)

Hartney School, Hartney, Manitoba

Carla Cooke and Tracey Salamondra designed a cross-curricular, community-based project for their grade eleven students to investigate the histories of their rural community. In the first semester, their eight students worked closely with the nearby Elgin & District Historical Museum to learn about the process of creating history, including research skills, oral history, working with evidence and artifacts, and using the historical thinking concepts. The students then put out a public call to meet, interview, and collect stories from community members.

In the second semester, students learned about the craft of storytelling. Selecting their story topics, each student wrote three historical narratives that included original research and oral history interviews. In collaboration with the Whitewater Park Restoration Committee, the students’ stories were posted on interpretive panels throughout a new trail as part of the park’s expansion. In total, students created twenty-three stories that highlight important families, buildings, and events in the community’s history.

As students in a small rural town who do not often see their history reflected in large, national narratives, this project provided them with an authentic opportunity to become local historians and to tell the stories that matter to their community.