Making history

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ASHLAND, OHIO – A Dirigo High School history teacher is making history this week by attending the Presidential Academy for American History and Civics at Ashland University in Ohio.

Beth Edwards of Dryden, who is in her sixth year teaching at the SAD 21 secondary school, was one of 52 educators chosen to study pivotal turning points in American history memorialized by the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Edwards, who has been visiting her parents in Minnesota, couldn’t be contacted. But SAD 21 Superintendent Thomas Ward said last week that she was very excited and honored to be selected.

“This is an opportunity for history teachers around the country to work together and do real in-depth research,” Ward said. “Anytime you have a teacher selected out of a national group of teachers, that’s a tremendous honor for a school and district.”

Edwards and the other teachers, one from each state, the District of Columbia and a U.S. territory, will spend five days in Philadelphia, six days in Gettysburg, Pa., and six days in Washington, D.C., studying the American Revolution and founding, the Civil War and the civil rights movement.

“The academy will thereby expose participants to the ideas and arguments that shaped these three great American eras, the documents that make up our history, and the places where the history was made, Ashland University spokesman Sam Renfroe stated in a recent news report. Professors conducting the Presidential Academy from July 15 through Aug. 2 are among the finest scholars of American history and government, Renfroe said.

“The Presidential Academy aims to help educators understand these three great turning points in American history. Participating teachers will see how these key events, infused with fundamental ideas, shaped and continue to shape our national identity, our public institutions and our public discourse,” he said.

The academy is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and coordinated by the John M. Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs at Ashland University, a private, comprehensive institution in north-central Ohio between Cleveland and Columbus.

Ward said Edwards’ being chosen to participate in a national course was the second such stellar achievement involving Ohio in seven months for SAD 21.

In December, Dirigo High School alum Nicole Mullins, a Youngstown State University professor of human performance and exercise science in Ohio, was recognized by Ohio Magazine as one of the state’s several top-notch teachers.

“These classroom stars engage students and influence direction of both their careers and their lives,” the December 2006 magazine article stated.

According to Mullins’ parents, Richard and Lorraine Mullins of Dixfield, their daughter graduated from DHS in 1990, from the University of New Hampshire in 1994, and earned her doctorate in 2002 from Kent State University in Ohio.

“She would have been a freshman when I was there. I never really knew her, but Nicole was a nice young lady,” said Ward, who was principal of Dirigo High School during Mullins’ years.

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