Archived — Recipient Bios

Year: 2002 – Province: Ontario

Certificate of Excellence Recipients

Blake Seward

School: Smiths Falls District Collegiate
2 Gould Street
Smiths Falls, Ontario  K7A 2S5

Principal: Debra Thomlinson
School Telephone: 613-283-0288
School Fax: 613-283-0461
School website:
Grades/Subjects Taught: Grades 9 to OAC, history

Teaching approach:

  • Take the student to the site; make history come to life.
  • Invite students to participate in the learning environment by organizing and crafting the lessons to draw them in.

Outstanding achievements:

Brought the relevance of history to life for students with an inspiring, unusual project, Lest We Forget. Grade 10 students were each given the name of a fallen soldier listed on the World War I section of the local cenotaph and given three weeks to find as much information as possible about the person. Students initially accessed regimental information from government websites, and quickly discovered that many names were misspelled and missing. Students searched relatives' attics, old newspapers and finally the National Archives for primary research material. The final result is a permanent written record of an almost - but not quite thanks to Seward and his students - forgotten band of men and period of history. Students received an award from the Minister of Veterans Affairs for their research and an Ontario Heritage Foundation award

Seward is now working with the National Archives to expand the project across Canada. So far, several schools have signed up, with a formal launch date of several curriculum units in September 2003.

History department has grown under Seward's leadership to be the largest in the school. He has redesigned and reintroduced the American history course, overseen the development of the world issues and world religions courses, written curriculum for several history courses, and is planning to launch a senior-level philosophy course.

Rave reviews:

"Students are like bloodhounds; they can sniff out a fake from the very first lesson of the year. But there is no fear that such a thing could occur in Blake's class." Fellow teacher

"I believe that this project [Lest We Forget] is very important because not only does it inspire learning on several different levels, but it also invokes a deep respect for those who fought for our freedom, something that is not often felt by my generation." Student

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