Two programs in Washington County celebrate 20 years of connecting students with the past
By Dave Ongie, News Editor
Last Friday in Washington County, students were able to travel back in time.
In Jonesborough, a group of fourth-graders from Jonesborough Elementary School gathered at Oak Hill School, where they were transported back to the late 1800s. Meanwhile, at Daniel Boone High School, a group of history students were busy frying up fatback and cooking up Johnnycake over open fires in a Civil War encampment.
The program at Oak Hill School is celebrating its 20th year of allowing young people to experience what school was like near the end of the 19th century. They do their work on slate boards and read from primers.
“The fact that this program is still going 20 years later, and that people are still coming, speaks to how well it was constructed,” said Anne Mason, special projects coordinator with the Heritage Alliance. “It’s still important today. People still want to experience this piece of history.”
The students on hand last Friday were keenly aware of how much has changed over the last century, but Mason said they also come away with an appreciation for what has remained the same.
“The value of education,” she said. “It was valuable 100 years ago, and it’s still valuable today even though things are very different in how we learn.”
When it comes to education, Daniel Boone history teacher Terry King believes hands-on experience is invaluable. So that’s what he’s delivered to the students in his Civil War history class for the past 20 years or so by merging his passion for teaching with his hobby of reenacting the Civil War.
After cutting firewood and cooking food in the morning, the students did some marching in the afternoon.
“Kids learn a lot better when you can bring history to life for them,” King said. “They can come out and experience it. I’ve had some of them come back and tell me years later how they remember very little from high school except for this.”