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In the spotlight

Great Falls Tribune • November 7, 2005 • Great Falls, Montana

by staff

Sarah Zook, Heritage Project teacher from Great Falls Central, is featured in the Trib’s “Teachers and Students” column.


Sarah Zook teaches business education classes at Central and advance placement statistics.

She is involved with DECA Club, the yearbook, is a debate coach and sophomore class advisor. She established the DECA Club at Central and took six students to the national DECA competition in California last spring. She coordinated Central’s participation in the Montana Heritage Project, sponsored by the Art Ortenberg and Liz Claiborne Foundation.

Her nomination says, “Mrs. Zook is an outstanding instructor with a gift for technology who goes above and beyond what is normally expected. She gives an incredible amount of time outside of her normal work day to insure that staff and students have the highest level of computer-related technology available to them. Her knowledge of technological equipment and products has brought Central to a level of technology that parallels, and in many ways, exceeds, what is available to students throughout the state.

“Mrs. Zook, through an endless amount of physical and mental energy, is always available to help and train staff in new, state of the art educational programs. Her ability to address each situation with a smile and a kind word encourages even the most computer-illiterate person to grow in skills and utilize the technology daily in their classrooms.

“Sarah’s teaching style is creative, diverse and exploratory, her colleagues believe their is no student she could not teach. She is also responsible for the development and implementation of new business classes that include business law, web design and yearbook.”

Posted by Michael L Umphrey
on 11/12 at 08:24 PM

Renee Rasmussen’s Work Noted in Montana Magazine

MONTANA MAGAZINE • September/October 2005 •  Helena

by Philip Aaberg

Phil Aaberg describes Renee Rasmussen and her Montana Heritage Project student work among Chester’s special assets in his Montana Magazine article.

Chester-native and enthusisastically-based composer and pianist Philip Aaberg wrote the fall 2005 MONTANA MAGAZINE’S “Home Towns” feature about the community to which he recently returned to live, compose, and contribute. Phil describes many qualities that recommend visiting or living in Chester. “This is mind-expanding, time-slowing country. Come on up, slow down, and enter the landscape. Soak up the stark beauty of the shortgrass prairie,” he says. And among several community residents he recommends for readers’ acquaintance, Montana Heritage Project teacher Renee Rasmussen garners early mention. “

In talking about Renee, “You might,” Aaberg notes, “meet teacher Renee Rasmussen, who guides the Chester affiliate of the Montana Heritage Project. Her students led a series of town meetings, putting the young with the old to discuss, ‘What can we do to save this way of life?’ The project is devoted to small-town renaissance, but making that a reality in northern Montana is no small feat.”

Posted by Marcella Sherfy
on 09/07 at 07:31 AM

Wins first place in heritage foundation

Church News, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints • April 23, 2005 • Salt Lake City

by Staff

Claire Stanfill, from Bigfork, won first-place in a research-based writing contest sponsored by the Montana Heritage Project.

BIGFORK, Mont. ó Claire Stanfill, 17, of the Bigfork Ward, Kalispell Montana Stake, placed first in projects submitted to the Montana Heritage Foundation from 18 high schools across the state. Her project centered on letters sent home from Vietnam from 1967-1968 from Robert M. (Bob) Reed to his wife, Ginny. For placing first, Claire has received a scholarship donated by English teachers from the 18 schools, and excerpts from her project were read in Helena, Mont., on April 5.

Claire’s project will be taken to Washington, D.C., to be archived in the Library of Congress.

Posted by Michael L Umphrey
on 05/17 at 08:27 PM

Simms scholars excel

Great Falls Tribune • April 11, 2005 • Great Falls, Montana

by Paula Wilmot

From left: Heidi Tynes, Crystal Tetzel, and Jessica Eastley. These three students, along with Neah Parshall, will serve as ambassadors for the Montana Heritage Project in Washington, D.C. They will present their research project to Librarian of Congress James Billington on May 4. Photo by Michael L. Umphrey.

Four Simms High School students and their teachers have been selected to represent the Montana Heritage Project at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., next month.

“The Heritage Project has become a model nationwide to involve students in their communities. We all are very pleased that these great Simms scholars will be our ambassadors in Washington,” said Michael Umphrey, director of the project.

Simms senior Heidi Tynes, and juniors Neah Parshall, Crystal Tetzel and Jessica Eastley, along with their teachers Dorothea Susag, Jenny Rohrer and Josh Clixby were selected for the honor during the recent Youth Heritage Festival in Helena. They will meet with Library of Congress librarian James Billington on May 4.

They will represent several hundred students in 10 other Montana high schools across the state who participate in the project. Since its inception, more than 5,000 students statewide have participated in the project, which is administered by the Montana Historical Society. In the case of the work done in Simms, the group will represent 43 students and nine teachers, as well as 13 community members who served as mentors during the life of the project.

Student and teacher peer evaluators, and outside reviewers ranked Simms’ stage presentation, display board and research essays of their yearlong study of transportation in the Sun River Valley as the best project.

Working across curriculum lines, Simms students compared prehistoric Old North Trail use with today’s Interstate 15 travel, and studied the impact of rail line closing in the Sun Valley.

The Montana Heritage Project was founded a decade ago by the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation in partnership with the Library of Congress, the Montana Historical Society, and the Office of Public Instruction.

The students and their teachers will spend an hour with Billington and present a computerized slide summary of their work and read excerpts from their research papers.

They will spend the rest of the day with the Library of Congress staff touring the library and learning more about original research.

Posted by Katherine Mitchell
on 04/18 at 02:50 PM

High school students are ‘distinguished scholars’

Independent Record • April 6, 2005 • Helena

by Staff

Jon Ebelt IR Staff Photographer - Alan Jabbour entertains students at the Myrna Loy Center during the Montana Heritage Project Youth Festival Tuesday. Jabbour, one of the co-founders of the project, gave a presentation called ‘Falling in Love with Music and Heritage.’ Other events on the docket included recognition of distinguished project scholars, reading of the top essays and the presentation of other various awards.

On hand to congratulate the students and accept their work into the Society archives and the National Archives in Washington, D.C., were dignitaries from the Library of Congress, the Governor’s Office, the Montana Historical Society, the Office of Public Instruction, the Montana Committee for the Humanities and more than one hundred students from 11 high schools around the state.

Claire Stanfill from Bigfork won a $500 scholarship provided by teachers in the Heritage Project across the state for her essay, “Their legacy living through letters,” which analyzes and interprets a collection of letters written home from Vietnam by a Marine to his wife.

The second-place essay, “CRP on the Farm and in the Community,” was researched and written by Cory Hawks and Michael Woods from Chester High School, submitted by English teacher Renee Rasmussen. The essay explores the history of the Conservation Reserve Program and its effects on rural Montana.

The third-place essay was submitted by English teacher Dorothea Susag in Simms. “The Old North Trail” by Neah Parshall explores the history of the ancient trail along the eastern front of the Rockies used for centuries by the Blackfeet. Neah researched it through readings, site visits and interviews.

The essays were not submitted as part of contest, but were products of ongoing research being conducted by students in the Montana Heritage Project. Students in the project form research questions, conduct library and field research, and then create “gifts of scholarship” such as research papers or Websites that benefit the community.

In addition to a scholarship for the top essay, the top team of four student researchers will be selected as ambassadors to the Library of Congress.

They will travel to Washington, D.C., in May to report on the project and present their research to Librarian of Congress James Billington.

The Montana Heritage Project is the high school outreach program of the Montana Historical Society. This year’s Youth Heritage Festival is a celebration of the project’s 10th year. It is funded by the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation.

Posted by Michael L Umphrey
on 04/18 at 02:41 PM
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