Ronan students serve as
Montana Heritage Project Ambassadors
to the Library of Congress
Four Ronan High School freshmen, Jenna Rody, Jessa
Aipperspach, Lindsey Cornelius, and Briana Malmquist, along with their
teacher, Christa Umphrey, traveled to Washington, D.C. to present the
research they and their classmates collected about life in the Mission
Valley to James Billington, Librarian of Congress.
Christa Umphrey's freshman English class researched aspects of
cultural life on the Flathead Reservation for their project,
Glimpses of the Mission Valley. The project focused on contemporary
life in the valley. It included a myriad of topics, from the annual
bison roundup at the National Bison Range to the history and future
of Mission Valley Speedway. Students wrote about topics such as
current agricultural practices, life as a volunteer firefighter,
homecoming, notable individuals, beading, the local mortuary, and
many others. It was a pretty comprehensive project.
|Students had worked hard
on their presentation, which included a comprehensive overview of
the work done in Ronan along with more detailed examples of their
own research. Dr. Billington (left) asked pointed questions, and the
students were poised and gave articulate answers.
The audience included Dr.
Billington; Peggy Bulger, Director of the American Folklife
Center of the Library of Congress; Peter Bartis, Senior Program
Officer for the Folklife Center's Veterans' History Project; Paddy Bowman,
Coordinator for the National Network for Folk Arts in Education; Amy Astin,
Legislative Assistant for Congressman Dennis Rehberg; Zoya Naskova,
Domestic Education Officer for the School
Connectivity Project; and several other people
from the Library of Congress.
|The group poses on the
balcony of Dr. Billington's office. From left, Peggy Bulger, Jenna
Rody, Lindsey Cornelius, James Billington, Briana Malmquist, Jessa
Aipperspach, and Christa Umphrey.
Umphrey explains the work her students did in Ronan to Dr. Billington
while Jessa looks on.
Library of Congress staff treat Heritage Project
students like important visitors when they visit the Library. Above,
Jim Flatness of the Library's Geography and Maps Division, shows
Christa and her students one of Ptolemy's Geographia, a book
of hand painted maps that dates from 1507. Ptolemy was a second
century Greek scholar and his Geographia was the first and
most popular cartographic publication to be printed from movable
type in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.
Peter Bartis, Senior Program
Officer for the Folklife Center's Veterans' History Project, has
been an integral part of the Montana Heritage Project since it began
ten years ago. He was involved in writing the original proposal for
the Project and since then, is the person that sets up the students'
visits to Washington, D.C. He's shown above with Jessa, Jenna, and
Lindsey who are looking at historical maps of their hometown, Ronan,
||Students who travel to Washington, D.C. as
ambassadors from the Montana Heritage Project usually meet with a
member of Montana's Congressional Delegation. This year they met with
Senator Conrad Burns.
At left, Lindsey Cornelius presents a copy
of the presentation script to Senator Burns in his office while Briana and Jessa
wasn't all work. The group toured Washington, D.C.'s many museums,
monuments, and landmarks. Top, Nellie Paolini (in pink), an intern in Senator
Burns' office, gives the students a tour of the United States Capitol.
Bottom, Jessa writes about some of her impressions of the sites she's
Jenna, Briana, Jessa, and Lindsey pose in front of the
Lindsey reads Lincoln's Second Inaugural
Address at the Lincoln Memorial.
Lindsey and Jessa are reflected in the
wall of the Korean War Memorial.
|The city offers many opportunities for a group of
students from rural Montana. A thirsty Lindsey seems to think she
can get a drink from the fountain of Neptune's Plaza in front of the
Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress.
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