This winter, three extraordinary Michigan history teachers will receive the 2008 Odyssey Award for their excellence in teaching. Since 2000, the Michigan Historical Center Foundation has given the awards to educators who excel at teaching Michigan history. Nominated by their peers, the winners were chosen because of their knowledge, leadership and creativity in making Michigan history come alive.
The award will be presented by the Michigan Historical Center Foundation at the 2008 Jingle Ball on Saturday, November 22 at the Michigan Library and Historical Center in Lansing.
U.S. HISTORY TEACHER, WILLIAMSTON HIGH SCHOOL, WILLIAMSTON
"In the 1960s, Michigan was THE state to be in. There was the auto industry, workers were making a high wage, there was the arsenal of democracy, Motown, the U.P., all of the cities along 1-94 were booming. Michigan was a microcosm of everything cool about the United States," said Mitch excitedly. "I want my students to know this and be inspired by it."
Mitch's passion for history prompted him to design a new high school elective titled "Michigan History Research and Development." Students combine traditional research methods with modern technology to develop new" records of Michigan history, which are then shared with the community and the media. Over 75 articles, written by his students, have appeared in the local newspapers. Students have produced a DVD describing how the community changes as a result of the railroad coming to town in 1871. One student created a model of the 1931 railroad site using old photos and maps as a reference. The model contains replicas of more than a dozen buildings and structures and will be on display at Williamston Depot Museum.
MICHIGAN HISTORY TEACHER, SALEM HIGH SCHOOL, CANTON
Darrin's driving principle is "what is lost is not forgotten." Having grown up in the Plymouth-Canton area, he developed a love for Michigan history, and was particularly fascinated by stories of the early settlers. Darrin's students have identified, spoken with and documented the stories of real people who live in the community. They have archived hundreds of hours of oral histories from Plymouth-Canton alumni, including a 1929 graduate and numerous graduates from the 1930s.
Darrin is an expert in designing creative projects that change the lives of his students as well as the lives of those in his community. Darrin's students have studied, cleared, and restored the forgotten Shearer pioneer cemetery. They researched Plymouth pioneer John S. Tibbits and wrote, illustrated and published a children's story called "Footsteps in History" depicting how Plymouth developed between the years of 1825-1889. This book will be incorporated into the 2nd grade curriculum for Plymouth-Canton schools beginning in the fall of 2009.
His underlying message is that small groups of citizens working together can accomplish great things despite significant …