‘In their own backyard’: Carpenters Middle studies local history
By Matthew Stewart | (email@example.com)
Carpenters Middle School’s students are discovering Blount County’s history with the help of community members.
Eighth-graders recently completed a four-week research project that covers a local historical topic, said English teacher Courtney Whitehead. They presented their projects Monday at Local History Extravaganza.
Many project details were the same as the last several years. Eighth-graders wrote a 1,500-word research paper, created visual aids and delivered a 3-to-5-minute speech.
Students also authored a community cookbook, which is available for $10. Teen living teacher Melissa Crabtree worked with students and made some of the dishes for Carpenters Day and the Local History Extravaganza.
School officials further organized a night program for community members.
Tori Couch, Vance Davis, Katie Graves and Nicole King delivered student speeches, and Bill Landry, an actor, director and producer who is most famous for “The Heartland Series,” was the program’s keynote speaker.
“We filmed 1,900 ‘Heartland’ episodes and covered a lot of territory,” Landry said. He then shared stories from the show’s run, including catfish grappling on the Tennessee River and searching for rattlesnakes in the Pisgah National Forest.
“There’s a whole lot of things in this world,” he said. “You can learn something every day.”
Landry later complimented the four students who delivered their speeches. “It was a pleasure to hear your stories. We could have used them on our show.”
Students enjoyed working on the research project.
Graves researched Dollywood. The eighth-grader interviewed Dollywood Vice President of Human Resources Tim Berry, who also provided her with banners and photographs for the research project.
The project has prepared students for future projects in high school and postsecondary institutions, Graves said. “We did a lot of research. I used six or seven sources, and I think it was more difficult than other projects. We’re definitely ready for bigger projects now.”
Noah Stevens researched Cades Cove. He interviewed Ruth Caughron Davis, the daughter of Lois Caughron and the late Kermit Caughron, who were the last Cades Cove residents, toured the area and took photos of it.
Educators were pleased with this year’s program.
“I’ve been really glad to see this grow throughout the years,” Crabtree said. “The Local History Extravaganza is one of the best things that we do, and it’s great to see the community support this event.”