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SSS partners with Town of Smithfield to create historic markers

The students in Joey Smith’s Johnston County History class at Smithfield-Selma High School are not only learning about our county’s rich heritage, but are also helping to spread that heritage to the rest of the world.

The class, which is taught to honors-level juniors and seniors, has been in the county curriculum since it was developed and approved by the Johnston County Board of Education in 2004. However, this is the first year it has been offered at SSS, having previously been offered at South Johnston, Johnston County Early College, and West Johnston. The class includes traditional lectures, certainly, but this is not your traditional history class. Most of the weight of the course is in doing rather than listening and taking notes.

This year’s group was expected to complete three major products: a public video about a specific part of Johnston County’s history, a lesson about life in Johnston County’s past developed to give to 4th-graders at South Smithfield Elementary, and a research project that will be preserved as history in its own right.

The public video project was presented as a proposal to the Smithfield Town Board in the hope that the videos could be used to assist with Smithfield’s tourism and to bring a little new technology to assist in educating people about Smithfield’s rich history. This dream came true on May 23, 2013.  The Town of Smithfield created placards and sign holders that will be distributed to specific locations throughout the town. On Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 3:00 pm students from the Johnston County History class met with town representatives at the Neuse Little Theatre in order to place the first historical marker.  Visitors will be able to use technology such as smartphones in order to view the videos through Q codes located on the marker.

The students also taught 4th- and 5th-grade classes at South Smithfield Elementary School in November. They taught the younger students about elements from our region’s past. Each lesson included a hands-on activity at its core, such as making butter or developing medicine from their own backyards.

The research projects, when finally completed, will be collected and published as new works of research designed to enhance knowledge about Johnston County’s history, present, and possible future.

The class is a busy one, but one that truly seeks to contribute.

PHOTO: Left to Right - Principal Michael Taylor, Mayor Evans, Assistant Principal Jake McAllister


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