Action Plan | Walter Danylak | Jerry Hall | Day Trip to Stetller
Action Plan

Please download our letter to the honourable Ralph Klein

Walter Danylak

The children enjoyed a full day of grain elevators with a trip to the Alberta Grain Academy at Stampede Park and a visit from Walter Danylak from the High River Historical Preservation Society.

The students dressed up like pioneers, and farmers and headed down to the grain academy for a morning field trip. They loved looking at the working grain elevator model and were fascinated by the model train exhibit that shows how grain gets from Alberta to the West Coast. Getting to sit on tractor seats and watch a movie about the grain industry was another highlight. The children took their journals with them to sketch. They each quietly concentrated on an artifact of their choice.


Once back at school we met with Walter Danylak. He told us the sad story of the High River grain elevator that was saved and then tragically burned to the ground. He shared with us his dream of building a grain elevator replica museum and showed the children a proposed model of the facility. Walter also shared with us his talent as a photographer and graphic artist. Aaron (grade one) was thrilled to show Walter the photograph of a grain elevator at sunset that he took on his way home from a family skiing weekend.
The children expressed their thanks to Walter;

"Thank you for leaving us some of your posters. Thank you for giving some of your time for us. We hope your wish comes true" (Matt Gr. 2)

"Thank you for coming to our class. I hope that your dream comes true. I like grain elevators" (Holly Gr. 1)

Jerry Hall - Alberta Wheat Pool

The children enjoyed a visit from Mr. Jerry Hall who is retired from Alberta Wheat Pool and the Grain Academy. As a hobby he builds train model grain elevators. He brought one in to share with the students and is going to build them one to keep. He showed them a short video and shared some beautiful grain elevator pictures. The students were excited to show him their seeds and plants when they found out that his job in the grain elevators was to grade the grains that the farmers brought in. He praised them on their farming skills and gave them advice on how to transplant their plants outside.


Day Trip To Stettler | Teachers Reflection | Students & Parents Reflection
Teachers Reflection

Alberta Grain Elevator Society
Annual Conference - Stettler, Alberta
Saturday, April 23, 2005

When the invitation came from AGES (Alberta Grain Elevator Society) for their annual conference in Stettler I couldn’t wait to tell the students. They were over the moon. The invitation stated that I could bring one boy and one girl from my class to the full day conference and tour of the P&H grain elevator. A draw determined the two students who would join me at the conference; Spencer and Colby.

I was thrilled when Judy Martin from Galileo told me that she wanted to accompany me on our road trip and overjoyed to find out that Spencer and Colby were each bringing both parents. Spencer also brought his younger brother and Colby also brought her Grandpa. It proved to be a real family affair.

We arrived in Stettler and set up the student prepared art tri-fold and "Action Plan" tri-fold. Then in came our 8 foot tall cardboard class grain elevator. Almost instantly the students had an audience. Conference participants adorned the students with grain elevator lapel pins and ball caps. They each received a license plate with the words "Save Alberta’s Grain Elevators" and a third one to take back for the classroom. They each got adorable wooden grain elevator Christmas tree ornaments as well. The class received the first edition of a "Prairie Cookbook". This book is going into a second edition that we found out will proudly display our class grain elevator story! The class also received a limited edition (35/50) drawing of the Leduc grain elevator.
Spencer and Colby are excited to tell their peers back in Calgary that everyone in the class was given an honorary membership card to AGES.

The conference began on a bit of an upsetting note because the key note speaker, Minister of Development Gary Mar had not arrived as planned. The conference started without him and Spencer, Colby and myself were invited up on stage to tell about the project. I was profoundly moved by the scene before us as we stood on stage. There were 80 or so dedicated grain elevator enthusiasts in the room. Each was there with the same purpose. Age was the only thing that separated us from them.

I began to explain the inspiration behind the project. I told how I sat across the street from the old Midnapore grain elevator with my dad as it fell to the ground. I was the same age as Spencer and Colby at the time. I described that image and scene as it is forever engrained in my mind. I explained my disgust at how the last remaining grain elevator in Calgary met the same fate just a few short months ago (July 28, 2004) only there was no audience across the street that time. There were no father/daughter pairs camped out to say good-bye. Why? Because nobody knew. I would have been there had I known. I would have sat across the street with my young son as my father had with me. Maybe then I could have lit the same passion in my son that now inspires me. Then I cried.

As Spencer and Colby read the class story and talked about their dreams of preserving the legacy of the grain elevator "so that we the children can remember" there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. Grandpa’s held the hands of Grandma’s and looked to the stage with hope and renewed faith. It was a moment so powerful I cannot explain the depth of emotion in the room.

When the students finished their presentation we expressed disappointment that Mr. Mar had missed it. A short while later he arrived. Spencer and Colby were ready with their question; "Excuse me Mr. Mar, you missed our presentation and we want to know if you received our letter from Mr. Klein". Simply put and boldly stated, they waited for an answer as the audience clapped. A private meeting with Mr. Mar was then arranged in an adjoining room. Spencer and Colby got to share the class story with Mr. Mar and if I am not mistaken I saw him wipe a tear as well.

The day continued with the children visiting with a number of conference attendees and a wonderful "farmers" lunch of roast beef and potatoes. The highlight of the day came when the organizers asked the students if they wanted a private tour of the grain elevator before the crowds arrived. This tour was filmed by RD-TV and will be broadcast on April 25th.

We were all very excited to see "a real live grain elevator" and spent three quarters of an hour exploring. My immediate reaction was how dusty it was despite being inactive for 2 years. Stan our tour guide seemed impressed by the student’s knowledge of the different parts of the elevator. They even knew about the "dead mans lift" and got to try it out for themselves. We got some fantastic video footage for the students back in Calgary and can’t wait to make them each a DVD of their own.

Our day finished with speaker Mr. Bob Layton from CHED 630 and Global Edmonton. He opened his speech by explaining that "you only get one chance to make a good first impression and that you also need to know how to work the government and media to your advantage". He praised the students on their ability to do all of this. He explained that their knack for attracting media attention even reached him and that he would be doing an editorial about them on Global Edmonton on April 25th.

I can sum up the day in Stettler in four words; EDUCATIONAL, INSPIRING, EMPOWERING, HOPE

Two generations educating one another. Two generations inspiring one another. Two generations empowering one another. Two generations coming together and looking to the future with hope.

--Jennifer George

Students & Parents Reflection

My Day at the Grain Elevator Conference 2005-04-25

When chosen to go to the grain elevator conference I was so excited I could not sleep. As soon as I got there, everybody was excited to see me and wanted to talk to me about are our grain elevator school project. When I was talking to them they also wanted to tell me about their grain elevator stories. I learned how important grain elevators were to the people and their towns. I think that grain elevators are part of our history and should be saved for all people to look at and enjoy.

--By Colby Remple

When Colby was chosen to attend the "conference", we were not only excited for her, but proud of her. For the past couple of months, grain elevators have been the topic most talked about in our home. It was a pleasure to attend the "conference" with Colby and and actually see what a grain elevator means to both the "Alberta Grain Elevator Society – AGES" and to Mrs. George and her students. When Colby and Spencer read the class story, the passion was evident not only to us, but also to the rest of the room. Attending this course, not only increased our awareness, but also made us realize how important preserving our history is. This will be a moment in Colby’s life that will be cherished and will not be forgotten. We feel so fortunate that we were able to share this experience with our daughter.

--By Jeff and Lynn Remple (Parents)


The Alberta Grain Elevator Society Conference (AGES) was cool! I learned more about what was inside a grain elevator, like the lift inside is called
the "dead man's lift" and there's more than one pit for the grain. I saw how a wheel is used to switch bins so that you don't mix the different kinds of grains. I
learned that grain elevators can be different colours and can be used for things other than storing grain; they can also be used for things like peas. I
also liked the train that went by the grain elevator.

A long time ago there were 1700 grain elevators and now there are only 180. I saw that some could be in bad condition - not really used and falling
apart. One day an old elevator could just fall to the ground. The people who own it and the people of the town would be very sad because it's part of the history of their town.

When I go in the grain elevators, I feel like I'm surrounded by nice history. It makes me think about how the pioneers lived and makes it more real for
me. The grain elevators are sentinels of the priaire and help children learn about the prairie. I've learned that if these signposts of the prairies disappear, an important part of our history will be forgotten.

After attending this conference, I still want to save Alberta's grain elevators. It was so cool, I want to go again!

--By Spencer Stevens

Spencer's commitment to the preservation of grain elevators was solidified upon his attending the AGES conference. He witnessed the care and concern of
people whose lives and towns were built around these distinct structures, and he realized the impact their loss would have on real people and places. He heard the stories and saw the historical relevance first-hand. He also met Minister of Community Development Gary Mar and saw that he, too, was a real and
caring person who had many different causes and interests to consider. It was an exceptional experience.

The conference organizers and participants treated Spencer and his classmate Colby like VIP's. The gifts and number of references to the children in
the speeches was almost embarrassing, thoroughly delighting the kids (Spencer still can't stop talking about how they made him a honorary member of AGES!). I believe, however, this focus on the children really impressed upon Spencer how important it is that young people embrace the need to preserve history; that without the voices of children to call for action, living memory of history will perish with their elders. People are truly looking to them to further the cause. I think he more fully realizes now the important and very real role he and his classmates play in protecting those things which tell important stories from our past.

We had a thoroughly wonderful and memorable time in Stettler. We can't thank the organizers and participants enough for their invitation and for the generosity and kindness they showed us, and particularly the children, once we were there. Whenever we pass a grain elevator on our travels, we will always think back to the people and the place that helped make prairie history so real and so important to our son.

--Marie Stevens (Parent)


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