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Alberta Youth Heritage Project

Will Sinclair High School, Rocky Mountain House
Our Town, Our People: A Documentary Video on Ten Influential Citizens

When English teacher Nona Barker saw a television program that examined the most influential people of the last millennium, she thought the idea might be an interesting one for her English 20 students. 

"Why not produce our own countdown by determining the most influential people in Rocky Mountain House's history?… We have at least 200 years to explore--who knows? We may be surprised at what we find." 

The 24 students and their teacher set themselves to researching, writing and producing a video on these influential people. They researched in the local museum, archives, library and newspaper office. They designed, delivered and compiled surveys to find out who people in the community thought of as influential. Arriving at a working list, they began developing interview questions and collected historic photographs that they could use in their production. 

They contacted and set appointments with people who would be sources of knowledge about the influentials they had chosen. They studied film and interview techniques, wrote, edited and produced scripts as well as created storyboards to shape the final product. After all of the interviews and documents were completed (and in some cases re-interviewed) they worked through the editing process, arriving at the final product. 

Our Town, Our People is a 105 minute-long documentary video on ten influential citizens through the 200 year history. It was presented to the public on May 31, 2001 at the Rocky Mountain House Community Centre. 

List of Ten Influential Citizens 

  • Lou Soppit, current and long-time mayor 

  • Helen Hunley, former Lt. Governor of Alberta, businesswoman, mayor and MLA

  • Jack and Angie Edgerton, community builders

  • William Kirby, Rocky's first postmaster

  • Martin Nordegg, mining engineer and entrepreneur

  • Grace Schierholtz, editor of the Rocky Mountaineer

  • Chief Walking Eagle

  • John Plathhan, community musician and bandmaster

  • Will Sinclair, former school board chairman

  • Alfred J. Hooke, MLA and cabinet minister

Nona Barker's class, Will Sinclair High School and the Town of Rocky Mountain House was one of the five pilot sites of the Alberta Youth Heritage Project.
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