Marine life, Nurse Myra Bennett to be featured at National Heritage Fair

Published on May 13, 2008
Will Bennett, right, and Paul House pose in front of Bennetts project on his great-grandmother, Nurse Myra Bennett, that earned him a trip to the National Heritage Fair. House has been selected to go as a student alumni.

CORNER BROOK - Western Newfoundland will be represented by projects depicting a nurse and a giant squid at the National Heritage Fair in Victoria, B.C. in July.

Will Bennett of G.C. Rowe, with his project A Life of Service Nurse Myra Bennett (1890-1990), and Amy Mugford of Stephenville Middle School, with her display on Newfoundland's Giant Squid, were chosen from last weekend's regional fair held at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College to participate in the national event.

"It just came as a surprise to me, but it is pretty exciting," Will, the son of Noel and Lisa, said. "It's a once in a lifetime chance to go completely across the country to another province."

There's little doubt as to why the Grade 8 student chose the nurse known throughout the province as the Florence Nightingale of the North, she is actually his great grandmother.

"It just interested me because she did a lot and worked hard and became famous for it," he said.

"I have known about her, but I learned most of it during this project.

"This all kind of makes you proud of yourself and your family because it is your family and the accomplishments of your family."

For Amy Mugford, a Grade 8 student and the daughter of Mark and Wanda Mugford, it was a big and welcomed surprise when she found out she was chosen.

"During my midterm break I went to Calgary, Alta. for a visit and when I got back I only had a week to work on my heritage project," she said. "I worked every night on it and even had to give up badminton some evenings to work on it. I put a lot of effort into it, but it has paid off."

The project on the Newfoundland Giant Squid resulted from a visit to Glover's Harbour where there is a giant squid on display.

She visited there with some friends from Calgary last summer and was inspired by the 55-foot replica made of concrete and reinforced steel.

"I thought it would be great for a heritage project, especially since I had a lot of information and photos of it from my visit," she said.

It was on Nov. 2, 1878 that the Atlantic giant squid ran aground in Glover's Harbour, formerly known as Thimble Tickle. Its body was 6.1 metres (20 feet) long, and one of its tentacles measured 10.7 metres (35 feet) long. It was estimated as weighing 2.2 tonnes.

They will join 13 other students from the province in a week-long history camp, providing a showcase for students' work from all the local fairs and allowing students across the country to come together to share ideas. They are both lucky forward to the experience.

They will be accompanied by Paul House, a Level 1 student at Pasadena Academy, the lone student alumni representative for the province.

He has been a volunteer member of the Western Heritage Fair for two years and participated in the national fair in Saskatoon, Sask. three years ago. He will assist the alumni team prepare a daily newsletter and online articles during the week.

The regional fair showcased the projects of 218 students representing 23 schools from Cow Head to Francois. A separate fair was held for students from Hawke's Bay on the Northern Peninsula to Norman Bay in Labrador.