Chapter of the Year 2014
The Vance Birthplace Junior Historians, and their adviser Tammy Walsh, are making a name for themselves, the site, and the Tar Heel Junior Historian Association in their community. Together, club members contributed over 3,408 hours of service to the Governor Zebulon B. Vance Birthplace State Historic Site in Weaverville through events such as Civil War Cleanup Day, Second Saturday, and the Christmas Candlelight Tour. The group also took their living history demonstrations on the road to other celebrations such as the annual Hart Square event and Travel and Tourism Days at the two Interstate 26 Welcome Centers, just to name a couple.
In addition to success in the THJHA annual contests, the Vance Birthplace Junior Historians also have received awards for their work at the Western North Carolina Mountain State Fair. They were also the recipients of an Award of Special Recognition from the North Carolina Museums Council for their work, including advocating for the site and raising membership funds when the site was in danger of being closed due to budget cuts.
Adviser of the Year
The 2014 Adviser of the Year is Sara Walker of the Young Hickory Explorers at the President James K. Polk State Historic Site in Pineville. Under Walker’s leadership the Young Hickory Explorers are not only learning about the life and times of President Polk, but they are sharing what they’ve learned with others and raising awareness about the site. Club members have been instilled with such a love of history that they helped advocate against the threatened closure of the site last year.
The junior historians especially appreciate Walker’s enthusiasm. In her nomination one club member noted that Walker participates in student activities instead of just being an adult who stands to the side and that she also treats the chapter with respect. “She never lied or kept the fact that the site might have closed a secret. Without Sara’s expert guidance we could not have the Young Hickory Explorers."
Rookie Chapter of the Year
The Rookie Chapter of the Year award recognizes a first- or second-year club that gets off to a strong start, aligning its activities with the Tar Heel Junior Historian Association’s mission and goals. The 2014 recipient is the Crusaders club of North Asheville Christian School, Michele Luther, adviser.
Club members researched the community of Weaverville, which is close to their school. In the second half of the school year they doubled their meeting time to compile the information into a video documentary titled Weaverville Then and Now, which can be used to educate others about the history of their area.