The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

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.

*2013 THJHA Winners From Stanly County*


Winners From Aquadale Elementary School, Norwood

            The Aquadale Explorers club from Aquadale Elementary School in Norwood received second place for a group project in the Exhibit Contest. Justin Gaddy won first place in the American Revolution Essay Contest. Club members Blair Burris, Will Almond, Duncan McSwain and Alexandra Mauldin were winners in the Artifact Search Contest.

            David Wagoner was named THJHA Adviser of the Year. He founded the Aquadale Explorers club in 1998 to help students connect with their community. Wagoner has shared his love of history with the club ever since. Wagoner works hard to bring opportunities to his students, raising money for projects and trips through grants and even a school barbecue.


About the N.C. Museum of History

The museum is located at 5 E. Edenton Street, across from the State Capitol. Parking is available in the lot across Wilmington Street. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The Museum of History, within the Division of State History Museums, is part of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.


About the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources (NCDCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s cultural resources to build the social, cultural and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan W. Kluttz, NCDCR’s mission to enrich lives and communities creates opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history and libraries in North Carolina that will spark creativity, stimulate learning, preserve the state’s history and promote the creative economy. NCDCR was the first state organization in the nation to include all agencies for arts and culture under one umbrella.

Through arts efforts led by the N.C. Arts Council, the N.C. Symphony and the N.C. Museum of Art, NCDCR offers the opportunity for enriching arts education for young and old alike and economic stimulus engines for our state’s communities. NCDCR’s Divisions of Archives and Records, State Historic Sites, and State History Museums preserve, document and interpret North Carolina’s rich cultural heritage. NCDCR’s State Library of North Carolina is the principal library of state government and builds the capacity of all libraries in our state, developing and supporting access to traditional and online collections such as genealogy and resources for the blind and physically handicapped.

NCDCR annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported symphony orchestra, the State Library, the North Carolina Arts Council and the State Archives of North Carolina. NCDCR champions our state’s creative industry that accounts for more than 300,000 jobs and generates nearly $18.5 billion in revenues. For more information, please call 919-807-7300 or visit