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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
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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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Townsend students honored by Historical Society

Townsend Star • April 14, 2005 • Townsend, Montana

by Staff

BHS Distinguished Scholars Patrice Foster, Heidi Myers, and Kelli Dailey

Eleven high school writers from around Montana were recently named “distinguished scholars” by the Montana Historical Society. Three of those eleven were students from Broadwater High School. Patrice Foster, Heidi Myers and Kelli Dailey were honored for their work in the Montana Heritage Project at the Student Youth Festival at the Myrna Loy Center in Helena.

Patrice Foster’s essay, “The Vietnam Wave” focused on the Broadwater County servicemen and women who served in the 1960s. Patrice used primary sources from the local Broadwater Historical Society and archived Townsend Star newspapers to gather her information. Patrice found that in 1966 there were 20 Broadwater County soldiers serving in Vietnam. Patrice also interviewed former veteran John Carlton to help her gain a perspective of Vietnam.

Heidi Myers’ essay, “Color Coded? The African Civil Rights Movement” is a reflection on national civil rights issues and a reflection on how present day Broadwater County individuals were affected. Heidi interviewed a teacher who was teaching in Mississippi when Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated. She also completed extensive reading and research to fully comprehend the events of this time period. 

Kelli Dailey’s essay, “Raising Cane in Broadwater County” was based on an interview with her grandparents, Slim and Midge Bucy. Kelli focused on the history of raising sugar beets in Broadwater County and she related many of her family’s stories about that process. Her research captured an historical agricultural period for this area.

Darlene Beck, English teacher with the Montana Heritage project, would like to thank all of the individuals who assisted students with the research. Students interviewed over 75 area individuals and used the resources available at the Broadwater Historical Society and Museum, the Townsend Star and the court house. Without these valuable resources, the project would have been impossible. With the support and the generosity of the community, fifty-one seniors were able to write essays pertaining to the 1960s and seventy-two juniors produced essays on Broadwater County in the 1910s. All of the essays along with a power point of the students’ work will be preserved in a binder and donated to the Broadwater Community Library. Digital copies of the work will be donated to the Montana Historical Society in Helena and the local museum. 

Posted by Michael L Umphrey
on 04/18 at 01:20 PM
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