Tuesday July 5, 2011

Community

The Schoolin' Never Stops

Retired Chilliwack teacher fosters Canadian history

Staff/Voice photos

 

Sardis Secondary school, Shirley Dargatz, UE, ret. at Heritage Park Friday talking about the Loyalists.

 

n July 1, the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada (UELAC) had a kiosk set-up at Heritage Park which is where local chapter president Shirley Dargatz was dressed in a period costume and talking Canadian history with people and what better time than on Canada Day.

Dargatz taught at Sardis Senior Secondary for 32 of her 35-years and even though she's long since retired from teaching, she still can't get enough of it and spends extra time fostering Canadian History.

"I'm not "retired" retired," said Dargatz laughing. "United Empire Loyalists is a full-time job. I've been president of the branch for a long time and also I'm on Dominion Headquarters Council so I have to go to Toronto for council meetings."

And if that's not enough, Dargatz is very involved with Carmen United Church. She's also been on the executive council of the Retired Teachers Association for 19-years and on a variety of different committees.               Dargatz shows photo of  David Morrison.

One of her more notable students at Sardis Sr. Secondary was Honourable Lt. Gov. Steven Point.

"He was just one of the neatest, most special students that I can imagine. He was just a wonderful leader then, but truly a leader who had influence over people and students and when we wanted the students to do something, we'd just ask Steven and he'd get it done."

When asked if Point was a good student, Dargatz said "Well, he went on to be a judge and beside his school picture it said his goal was to be the Prime Minister of Canada," she said.

Now, Dargatz travels around to different educational institutions teaching Canadian History and is delighted when she gets an invitation from a school.

"The Association of British Loyalists is for the preservation of Canadian history. We focus on the loyalist era but basically its for all Canadian history."

Their work could be on preserving historical sites or as resources for teachers.

"When we prove our lineage, like I'm 7th generation Canadian, so you prove your lineage all the way back with birth certificates and census' and so on and then you can put Canada's only hereditary title beside your name which is "U.E." for the Unity of the Empire which was bestowed by King George III

Dargatz talked about meeting David Morrison, descendent of famous loyalist Joseph Brant, in Vernon last year.

Brant was an American Mohawk military and political leader, and a well-known supporter of Great Britain, both during and after the American Revolution. He met such people as George Washington and King George III.

"Joeseph Brant, when the loyalists came to Canada, was amazingly supportive and helpful to the loyalists and of course First Nations people were so helpful and many would not have survived if they did not have that help."

After the war, Brant moved to Canada where he remained a political icon until his death in 1807.

"So he (Morrison) met Steven Point at Vernon last year and it was such a wonderful experience for him. The only problem is he sent his hat on ahead and it didn't get there in time in the mail."

So Dargatz says she intends to send a picture on to the Lt. Gov. to show what Morrison's headdress looks like.

"I just saw him (Steven Point) in Brockville 3-weeks ago where a conference was and I said I'd get a picture and I just enlarged this last night," she said holding up the framed print with pride.

Prospective members don't have to be of Loyalist descent to get involved with the UELAC. All that's needed is a keen interest of Canadian history.

For more information visit their website: www.uelac.org/chilliwack  or e-mail Shirley Dargatz here.

 

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