Yourself on display - Shawn Loughlin editorial
Speaking with Margaret Vincent, who is the president of the Elementary School Fair committee, got me thinking about the pride of showing off my work. She said that one of the things that has always stuck with her in terms of the fair was how proud she was for her parents, neighbours and friends to see her submissions to the fair on display.
Now, growing up in Pickering, we didn’t have a school fair and if we would have, it wouldn’t have had an agricultural focus. To get in touch with agriculture, my parents would usually bring us to the Markham Fair or all the way to the Canadian National Exhibition, which, as I think I’ve written here before, was always bittersweet, as it signified that there were only two weeks of summer left before we had to go back to school.
Furthermore, when we would go to one of those events, I remember being enamoured with the potential to win an underwhelming stuffed animal after flushing a bunch of money down a carnival game (I remember it certainly making sense at the time).
So, for me, it wasn’t about showing off my animals, like Margaret did, but I did connect with her comments about the pride of showing off her school work to her parents.
There really is something about bringing your parents into a world from which they’re essentially removed (aside from the once-a-year parent-teacher night and the occasional vice-principal summoning).
I remember taking my parents around our classroom on parent-teacher nights, proudly showing off my desk and where my friends sat. I remember showing off artwork that had maybe been chosen for display in the hallway or the gymnasium, so proud that it had made the leap from my desk and was good enough for those outside of my classroom to see.
To take it even one step further, I still remember the pride I felt when a piece of my artwork had been chosen to be featured in a display at the Pickering Town Centre. Malls, for those of you under a certain age, were the place to be for those of just about every age when I was young. So, if your artwork was up at the mall, it might as well have been The Louvre to me when I was in grade school.
When the Town of Pickering (I don’t think it had crossed over into “city” territory yet at this point) commissioned a new sign at our beloved Brock Ridge Community Park (home to Kirkey Field - my home baseball diamond), several pieces of art were chosen from the surrounding schools, my St. Anthony Daniel Catholic School among them. Mine didn’t make the cut and that always stung, because those pieces were memorialized within the new sign for years to come. I think it’s been replaced now, but that was about as close to being immortalized in stone as we could get.
Seeing my picture on this page or my byline above stories I’ve written has become normal over the past 16 years, but I still remember the pride I felt on that first week, knowing that thousands of people would be reading a story I wrote (it was on the front page that week). To a certain extent, that excitement hasn’t dulled.
Whether it’s the Brussels Fall Fair or the Elementary School Fair, being able to show off what you’ve accomplished to your friends, neighbours, parents or children is something that should never fade away. Hopefully with the return of these historic events, some new people, young or old, will find that thrill for the first time, whether it’s a new hobby or an established career path, like some of the crop classes, there is always reward in finding a sense of accomplishment.