Freedom's Frontier honors high school students for research

Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area News Release

Contact: Sonia Smith, Marketing Manager (785) 856-5304

Julie McPike, Managing Director (785) 856-5283

Jim Ogle, Executive Director (785) 856-3635

Freedom's Frontier honors high school students for research

The fourth annual Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area Awards Luncheon was held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Thursday, November 10, in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, at the historic Elms Hotel, 401 Regent Street. The annual event recognizes partners, friends, donors and trustees of the heritage area. Awards are given to the MVP (Most Valuable Partner) and high school students who undertake a project showcasing Freedom's Frontier themes.

This year's Tacha Freedom Award was presented to both Missouri and Kansas recipients. The 2016 Tacha Freedom Award Winner from Kansas is Elizabeth Dunaway, now a sophomore at Flint Hills Christian School in Manhattan, Kansas. Elizabeth was in 9th grade when she researched and wrote her paper, Indian Boarding Schools: Forced Cultural Change. This paper delves into the history of Indian Boarding Schools and lasting impacts that may still be felt today. With four pages of sources, including books, websites, articles, but also interviews with former students and experts in the field.

Her teacher, Terry Healy, said this of her research, "Elizabeth first researched Richard Henry Pratt and then explored the impact the Indian Boarding Schools had on the Native American tribes. She spoke with a woman who had attended a Boarding School and learned that while there were many negatives to the school there were also positives. The historians she interviewed as well as the many primary and secondary sources helped her find that even though most schools closed many years ago, they are still impacting the tribes today." Elizabeth was unable to attend the awards luncheon.

The 2016 Tacha Freedom Award Winner from Missouri, Powers Hamilton Trigg, attended 8th grade at Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City, Missouri, when he developed his award winning performance, An Exploration of Negro Leagues Baseball: An Encounter with Three Icons that Changed Baseball and America. Powers spent months reading numerous books on the topic, but also reached out to individuals who could bring the history to life. An interview with Bob Kendrick, Chief Executive Officer of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, on the bench in the Field of Legends in the museum was one of the "most memorable experiences" that Powers ever had.

Powers' teacher, Dan O'Connell, said this of Powers and his project, "Powers really fell in love with the topic and he spent many hours outside of our history club meetings interviewing people, reading, and emailing." Powers decided to give his $250 award to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum given all of the help they provided for his project. Powers cannot join us today because he is now a freshman at the Groton School in Boston. Ray Doswell, Vice President and Curator of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, accepted the award on Powers's behalf.

Students from Royal Valley Middle School in Mayetta, Kansas, were 2016 Runners-Up for the Tacha Freedom award. Their research of Civil War soldiers who emigrated to Kansas helps preserve the significant stories of our past. Students are provided hands-on training in the field of preservation and taught invaluable research skills. Nate McAlister, the teacher who has led this multi-year project said, "This project has allowed my students to test the limits of their abilities, incorporate multiple curricular areas, and go beyond the normal everyday routine." McAlister attended the luncheon to receive the award with students Luke Boyden, Emma McKinsey, and Morgan Harvey from Royal Valley Middle School.

The Missouri 2016 runners-up for the Tacha Freedom award are: Brooke Chase, Kate Hedges, and Katherine MacKenzie from Heritage Middle School. Their performance,
All for a Letter: The trials of the Pony Express explores the settling of the frontier and the history of the Pony Express. Brooke, Kate, and Katherine used local resources to supply the information they needed; including the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph and the Kansas City Public Library. They performed an excerpt from their performance.

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Heritage Area Fast Facts

Mission: Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area (FFNHA) is dedicated to building awareness of the struggles for freedom in western Missouri and eastern Kansas. These diverse, interwoven, and nationally important stories grew from a unique physical and cultural landscape. FFNHA inspires respect for multiple perspectives and empowers residents to preserve and share these stories. We achieve our goals through interpretation, preservation, conservation, and education for all residents and visitors.

Kansas Counties: Allen · Anderson · Atchison · Bourbon · Chautauqua · Cherokee · Clay · Coffey · Crawford· Douglas · Franklin · Geary · Jackson · Jefferson · Johnson · Labette · Leavenworth · Linn · Miami · Montgomery · Neosho · Osage · Pottawatomie · Riley · Shawnee · Wabaunsee · Wilson · Woodson · Wyandotte

Missouri Counties: Barton · Bates · Buchanan · Cass · Clay · Jackson · Johnson · Lafayette · Platte · Ray · St. Clair · Vernon

Established: October 12, 2006

Web site: www.freedomsfrontier.org

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