Six students from Greene County have advanced to the state level 2010 National History Day event.
Two groups of students from Chuckey-Doak Middle School and a Chuckey-Doak High School student have advanced to the state competition in Nashville on April 17. Local and regional National History Day events are among the community outreaches of the Tusculum College Department of Museum Program and Studies in its efforts to help enhance the academic curriculum and activities of local schools.
More than 300 entries from schools in East Tennessee participated in the district event, held at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Twenty-seven students from Greene County advanced to the district event after placing in the regional National History Day hosted on the Tusculum campus in February by the Department of Museum Studies.
Students from Greene County have a history of success in the National History Day program since its beginnings nine years ago, at that time a joint effort between the Department of Museum Studies and Mosheim Middle School and an effort that has grown to include other schools such as Chuckey-Doak Middle School. Students from Greene County have advanced to the national competition every year except two since the program’s inception locally.
Advancing to the state level in the junior performance division are Daniel Beddingfield, Austin Fillers and Kelley Russ, seventh graders at Chuckey-Doak Middle, with their play, “Orville and Wilbur Wright: The Invention of Flight.” The play received third place at the district level. Participants in this division write, develop and act their play.
Alexus Gibson and Michala Myers, who are also seventh graders at Chuckey-Doak Middle, will be advancing to the state in the junior group exhibit division with their exhibit, “Protecting the Present, Preserving the Past, Transforming the Future.” The exhibit about the National Park Service received third place at the district level.
Participants in the exhibit divisions prepare a display with photos or other images as well as blurbs of text about their chosen topic. Exhibit projects are also to include a process paper, describing how the exhibit was prepared, and a bibliography listing all the resources used in preparing the display.
Matt Hensley, a freshman at Chuckey-Doak High School, was rewarded for his initiative and hard work with second place in the senior individual exhibit division. Whereas local middle school students at Chuckey-Doak and Mosheim participate in school-wide events as part of their social studies coursework with the winners advancing to higher level events, high school students participate in the National History Day Regional event on a voluntary basis.
Hensley’s exhibit, “Cyrus McCormick: Inventive Genius,” has a Tusculum connection. Cyrus McCormick, who invented a famous mechanized reaper, and his wife, Nettie Fowler McCormick, learned of Tusculum College in the 1880s through four alumni who were attending McCormick Seminary and the pastor of the McCormick’s Presbyterian church who had spoken at a commencement at Tusculum. After McCormick’s death, his widow honored her husband’s intention to provide assistance to the college and did so for several decades. Through McCormick philanthropy, five major buildings were added to campus. The couple’s significant contributions to the college are honored through the names of McCormick Hall and Virginia Hall (named for their daughter).
The top two places in each division at the state event will advance to the national event June 13-17 at the University of Maryland at College Park.
In addition to hosting the Regional National History Day event, the Department of Museum Studies at Tusculum provides resources throughout the school year to assist students and teachers in the process of creating projects. This year, that effort has been significantly enhanced by the addition to the department of Darlene McCleish as National History Day resource coordinator. The part-time position was created through grant funds from the Andrew Johnson Heritage Association and the Niswonger Foundation.
The Department of Museum Program and Studies administers the President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library and the Doak House Museum on campus. The Doak House Museum, the 19th century home of the Rev. Samuel Witherspoon Doak, co-founder of Tusculum College, hosts thousands of school children from the region for a variety of educational programs related to the 19th century. The President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library houses a special collection of items relating to the 17th president, the college’s archives and volumes from the institution’s original library. The museums are also two of the 10 structures on the Tusculum campus on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum department also offers one of the few undergraduate degree programs in museum studies in the country.