Portsmouth Junior High teacher Stephanie Warren strikes again with providing students with a fun and interactive day of learning. After hosting a Black History month event in February, Warren went to work organizing a Portsmouth Day celebration.
“Portsmouth Police Chief Rob Ware actually had the idea to display the Portsmouth Police Department history and I said ‘well what if we turn it into a whole day?’ And that’s how it came about,” explained Warren.
The event allowed sixth and seventh grade students a fun new way to learn about their community and its history.
Students toured around 35 local businesses and churches, learning more about their history in the area.
Community volunteers also brought in over 15 displays with Portsmouth memorabilia to create a mini-museum set-up for students.
Displays ranged from Native American artifacts and ancestry, Civil War reenactments and early sports history to modern day industry like Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC), OSCO industries and Connex.
Volunteer Michael Johnson brought in a display of Native American tools and weaponry. “I’ve brought, bows, arrows, blow-guns and darts, some flint knapping, primitive tools, things like that,” said Johnson. Johnson handmade everything on display. “My family history got me interested. My family history goes way back to John Hunt Morgan, I had a grandfather, his name was Phillip Buckspike Williams and he was a scout for Morgan. The American-Indian part of my family has always been documented and recorded throughout the years, so I’ve just grown up with it.”
In addition to Johnson’s display, Randy Nickles brought in some early sports memorabilia to share with the students.
“Larry Hisle, Al Oliver along with Al Bridwell, all came up through the Portsmouth City school system. Al Bridwell played baseball during the Dead-ball era with players like Ty Cobb. I also brought things from the Portsmouth Spartans before they transitioned to the Detroit Lions in 1933,” said Nickles. Many of the student athletes gravitated towards his display, in awe of the way things used to be.
But the past wasn’t the only thing celebrated during Portsmouth Day, OSCO Industries talked to students about their futures and what the industry does in the area. SOMC and Connex also played games and talked about their role in shaping Portsmouth.
“I hope this helps them to take greater pride in their community. A lot of them don’t know their history, they know Portsmouth now but they don’t know the background story of Portsmouth. Hopefully it builds their self-esteem as well and they can have a greater respect for the community,” said Warren.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.