Bright Futures Take Root in the Past

Alberta students have historically received lower marks in comparison to those in other provinces when it comes to understanding their province’s history and its people’s significant contributions to the history of our nation.

Alberta Lieutenant-Governor Lois Mitchell realized students needed support to become better connected with the province’s past. So she and her husband, Douglas Mitchell, created the History & Heroes (H&H) Foundation. H&H has established an endowment fund to support programs that encourage Alberta’s young people to advance their interest and understanding in this area.

With Edmonton Community Foundation managing the endowment, the H&H Foundation has raised approximately $750,000 of its $1-million goal.

In 2018, the foundation awarded $15,000 in Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Historian Awards to 10 recipients in 10 post-secondary institutions. It has also awarded approximately $8,000 to six high school students through two programs highlighting the military in Alberta and Canadian history — the Spirit of Vimy contest in 2017 and the Spirit of Peace contest in 2018.

In both cases, students who had qualified by demonstrating an interest in history submitted creative interpretations of respective topics, vying for financial prizes.

“The student presentations were very moving,” says Ralph Young, chair of the board of directors of the H&H Foundation. “There were incredibly thoughtful and compelling stories by young students describing how young Alberta service men and women served our country during the two world wars based upon their research.”

The H&H Foundation will award 17 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Historian Awards in 2019, Young adds, each with a value of $1,500.

“We hope these awards will help encourage students to value our Canadian history and its lessons,” he says.

The H&H Foundation intends to grant Historian Awards totalling between $25,000 and $40,000 per year, with a goal of sustainably providing awards to generations of students to come.