The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Local News

July 23, 2013

Young historians win awards during state convention

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 —           More than 350 students, advisers and parents from across North Carolina gathered at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh this spring for the 2013 Tar Heel Junior Historian Association (THJHA) Annual Convention. The all-day event featured dynamic learning experiences that help young people appreciate and understand North Carolina’s rich history.

           Hands-on workshops at the April 26 convention focused on two topics:   conflict in the 1800s and North Carolina A to Z. Students learned about subjects ranging from the history of the “Star Spangled Banner” to earthenware pottery. The Museum of History and the Museum of History Associates co-sponsored the statewide convention.

         The Awards Ceremony, an annual highlight, recognized junior historians for outstanding projects submitted in THJHA contests. The projects encourage students to research the historical significance of people, places and events in their own communities.

        All winning projects are showcased in the exhibit History in Every Direction: Tar Heel Junior Historian Association Discovery Gallery, featuring fun and informative hands-on history activities.

       “We are very proud of all of the work the junior historians accomplished this year, especially for the new History in Action service project” said Jessica Pratt, THJHA Program Coordinator.

“I am just as excited as the students are to have their projects on exhibit to educate museum visitors about North Carolina history.”

Student, Chapter and Adviser THJHA Award Winners

         Awards are given for outstanding THJHA chapters and advisers, as well as student projects. Categories of competition include media projects, art projects, literary projects and essays, an artifact search, photography projects, and a state history quiz.

        Projects encourage students to understand and appreciate our state’s heritage. Groups as well as individuals received awards. A new History in Action award was added this year to recognize clubs for participating in history-related service projects in their community.

           The Smith-McDowell House Tar Heel Junior Historians from Asheville won the 2013 Chapter of the Year award. Club members play an important volunteer role at the Smith-McDowell House Museum, helping with programs such as Heritage Alive, American Girl Tea Parties, cleanup days, and holiday decorating. Lisa Whitfield is the club’s adviser.

           The 2013 Adviser of the Year award went to David Wagoner, who leads the Aquadale Explorers at Aquadale Elementary School in Norwood. Wagoner brings history opportunities to his students by raising money for projects and trips through grants and even a school barbecue. One of his students noted, “He is funny, helpful, and caring. He makes everyone want to be a part of the club.”

           The ARTifacts Club from Parkview Village Elementary School in High Point received the 2013 Rookie Chapter of the Year. Club members researched local historic places, shared their reports, and took field trips to sites such as Guilford Courthouse National Military Park and the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. The junior historians also interviewed older residents in the community about the past. Juandalynn Jones-Hunt serves as adviser for the club.

          Participants in the 2013 History in Action program, sponsored by the Coca-Cola Foundation, conducted research and completed a day of service related to water and waterways in North Carolina’s history. Participating clubs were the Freaks of History club, sponsored by Moms of Stonehenge in Raleigh; History Hounds of Central Carolina, Clubs A and B, sponsored by N.C. Homeschool Adventures in Sanford; Neuse Navigators club, sponsored by Spence Academy in Kinston; and Smith-McDowell House Tar Heel Junior Historians club, sponsored by Smith-McDowell House Museum in Asheville.

* Tar Heel Junior Historian Association Facts *

          There are more than 5,000 Tar Heel Junior Historians in 47 counties across North Carolina. Any group of students in grades four to 12 with an adult adviser can form a Tar Heel Junior Historian club and join the association at no charge. To learn more about this free program, e-mail or access and

          For more information about the N.C. Museum of History, call 919-807-7900 or access or Facebook.

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