WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Feb. 4, 2019 — A high school teacher enrolled in West Liberty University’s Master of Arts in Education degree program is helping her community learn about local history.
Kyle Metzger’s students are now overseeing a “Nostalgia Drive” at Martins Ferry High School where she is a teacher. Through the drive, Metzger’s American Government students are collecting treasures for the Sedgwick House Museum, located at 627 Hanover St, Martins Ferry, Ohio.
“In my master degree course on community collaboration, we were tasked with identifying something in our classroom we thought was lacking and then finding a partner in the community to address that issue,” Metzger said.
Metzger, who grew up in Martins Ferry, said she remembered what a big event the school’s Spirit Week used to be, and how there were themes for each football game. She decided to focus on community pride and involvement, with the goal of getting her students more invested in the life and history of her hometown.
To begin her project, she reached out to the Sedgwick House Museum, home of the Martins Ferry Historical Society. She invited Curators John Applegarth and Tom Thomas to her classroom to talk about town history and the museum, and in December, her class took a field trip to Sedgwick House.
“It was a fun way to end the semester,” she said. “They have old lettermen jackets, band uniforms and yearbooks. When we went into the rooms from the 1960s-1970s, the students really started to engage, asking questions about where the archives came from.”
Metzger added that she was moved when the students’ started to express their curiosity.
“I was looking at Mr. Applegarth, who I had in school as a student, and my students talking, and I was so happy to see the generation before me and the generation after me making connections,” she said.
Applegarth also was pleased to visit with the students and help them learn a lesson in civic pride.
“In the 1970s, we had so many people involved in the museum,” he explained. “We were happy to have these students visit, and we encourage school tours. We hope the students will come back and bring their parents.”
To build on the visit and to continue the lesson in community pride, Metzger’s class came up with the idea of a “Nostalgia Drive” to collect what they hope will be museum-worthy items.
“We are hoping that the community will come forward with some interesting items from Martin’s Ferry’s past and donate them to us, so we can present them to the museum,” she said. “The goal is to show my students how to use nostalgia to create positive change.” Anyone who has Martins Ferry High School items of significance, old uniforms, sheet music, awards, graduation programs, or other items can drop those items off between 8 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays at Martins Ferry High School, 5000 Ayers Limestone Rd.
Zachary Shutler, superintendent of the Bridgeport (Ohio) School district and WLU adjunct faculty for the community collaboration graduate course, said his goal was to take the content of the course from the theoretical to the practical.
“I wanted the community collaboration course to offer an opportunity for the student to create something meaningful for their district,” Shutler said. “Through the MAEd program, we want our K-12 teachers to create opportunities for students to engage in projects that will improve their school or their community. A person who is actively developing their skills will make the world a better place. Kyle Metzger’s project exemplifies that mindset.”
West Liberty University is a forward-looking, four-year public university steeped in a rich heritage as West Virginia’s oldest institution and offers more than 70 undergraduate majors, plus a growing number of graduate programs including master degrees in clinical psychology, education, physician assistant studies, biology, professional studies and online master degrees in criminology, dental hygiene and the MBA.
For more information on the WLU MAEd program, please contact Dr. Leann Elkins at [email protected]