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Black River: Local Eighth Graders Engage the Past

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Fifty-one eighth grade students from Black River Middle School were part of a year-long Community History Project sponsored by the Vermont Historical Society. The project involved the Black River Academy Museum, the Middle School, Black River High School and various town resources.

The title of this project was "Continuity and Change". The students researched the history of the Black River Academy, some of it's more notable alumni, teachers and activities. They also researched the history and building of the Black River High School.

In order to accomplish all of the research, the class was divided into 15 groups, including videographers and documentors. The documentors kept track of the progress of the teams and wrote press releases which they sent to four local newspapers. The videographers were kept busy with interviews with alumni of the Black River Academy. One video had them discussing their memories of BRA and another had them talking about their memories of E. Howard "Pop" Dorsey, a favorite principal, teacher, coach and superintendent of schools. The culmination of the project was a reenactment of Calvin Coolidge's 1890 graduation from Black River Academy performed by the eighth graders.

Two days a week throughout the school year, various teams journeyed to the Black River Academy Museum to work on their projects. The used the Museum's archives, took notes and interpreted primary and secondary source documents. These included journals, graduation speeches, yearbooks, biographies and other book. Some of the other places where the students did research were Black River High School, Ludlow Town Hall, Fletcher Memorial Library, the Rutland-Windsor Supervisory Union office and Coolidge Homestead.