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Corner Brook native Clare Coleman to participate in Canada’s History Society’s National Youth Forum

Clare Coleman is shown in a screen grab from her project titled “Colemans... Keeping Our Stories Alive.”
Clare Coleman is shown in a screen grab from her project titled “Colemans... Keeping Our Stories Alive.”

Twelve-year-old Clare Coleman of Corner Brook is one of two students from this province chosen to travel to Ottawa in October to participate in Canada’s History Society’s National Youth Forum.

Clare won the trip after participating in the Young Citizens program which showcases the work of students from heritage fairs throughout the country.

In 2017, 200 students between the ages of 10 and 16 from all provinces and territories participated in the Young Citizens program which saw the students expand their heritage projects by creating a video to help tell their stories.

The videos were posted online and people were encouraged to vote for their favourite project.

The 13 projects garnering the most votes made the final cut while judges voted for the remaining 13 projects.

The 26 winners have been invited to the forum in Ottawa.

Clare is a Grade 7 student in the late French Immersion program at Corner Brook Intermediate.

She was a student at Immaculate Heart of Mary School when she entered the heritage fair. Her project titled “Colemans... Keeping Our Stories Alive” is based on her family’s group of companies.

In her video, Clare tells viewers how her great-great-grandfather Arthur James Coleman started the family business in 1934 after moving from Glace Bay, N.S. to Corner Brook.

The story is as captivating as the student making the video.

“Arthur James was a plumber and, returning from work one evening, his truck broke down. When he came back to his truck in the morning, he found his tools had been stolen. Discouraged but not beaten, he took his truck, six kids and wife Maggie along with a cow and 38 hens and traveled to Corner Brook, Newfoundland,” Clare explains in her video.

Clare’s efforts in explaining how the business has expanded over the decades, prove she’s not only learned a great deal about her family business but has also built on her skills as a storyteller.

During a phone interview on Sept. 12, Clare said suggested that entrepreneurs are special people. We can all learn from their experiences, she said.

“When something bad happens in life, there are other possibilities and options ... so don’t ever give up,” she said.

Clare is glad that’s the attitude her great-great-grandfather took when he was robbed of his tools.

Because of his determination, she may one day find her place in the family business.

“This heritage fair has convinced me that I do want to go into business. I don’t know yet if I’ll work with Colemans but it’s definitely a possibility,” she said.

About Heritage Fairs

Heritage fairs are held annually in every province and territory in Canada.

In 1997 the Historic Sites Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (HSA) adopted the program for the benefit of NL students.

According to information provided by HSA, heritage fairs give young people across the province the opportunity to engage in their communities, speak with tradition bearers, and learn something new about who they are and where they’ve come from. The fairs are supported by the provincial department of education as well as the English and French school districts. Over 121,000 students have completed and presented heritage fair projects in this province. Projects involve hours of volunteer time by teachers, parents, adjudicators and students.

Clare said she is “super excited” about her trip to Ottawa. She’s anxious to see other students’ videos and to learn more about heritage in general.

“I know we will be visiting museums and I think I’m going to learn a lot. I think it’s going to be a great experience. I cannot wait,” she said.

Eleven-year-old Klaire Hayward from Bonavista is the other winner from this province. Klaire’s project titled “Restoring Our Heritage, One Nail at a Time” is about efforts being made to restore heritage homes and buildings in the community.

Both videos can be viewed by visiting:

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