Graves Co. Central Elementary students find history comes alive through historic newspapers

Graves Co. Central Elementary students find history comes alive through historic newspapers

GRAVES COUNTY, KY (KFVS) - Graves County Central Elementary School principal Stephanie Sullivan happened upon something she saw as a valuable resource, while vacationing with relatives this past summer.

The treasure trove of learning opportunities now on display at her school came from 1,000 miles away and decades ago. Among the students whose imagination it has captivated are a group of third graders who might be called "The History Boys."

"As we were on vacation this summer, we visited Manus Williams and his wife, Joyce, in Grand Junction, Colo.," Sullivan explained. "My Uncle Manus is 84 years old. He is my dad's brother. As we were visiting, he brought out this huge crate and started showing us these newspapers. So, I got interested and said, 'That would be so neat for our school!' I told him, 'If you would ever want to sell those newspapers to me, I would love to display some of them in our school.'"

She continued, "Mrs. Carol Rollins, our fifth grade history teacher, worked very hard to pull out the newspapers she thought would be most relevant to our students. There probably are 200 papers."

"It means a lot to me to look at these pictures and newspapers with people who also like history," said Landon Smith, who has quite a history as a history buff, among third graders. He might even be considered the leader of the History Boys. "I was really amazed that so many people would come together around this display. I think American history is probably the most important thing in school!"

"The only reason I'm interested in history is because I read one of those graphic novel books that Landon got me into and now I've read almost all of them," said his friend, Houston Young.

As the four boys gathered around the newspaper collection, they commented on some of the major news stories.

"I never knew anything about Richard Nixon having to resign as President. I learned that from Landon," said Hunter Carr, pointing to two papers facing one another from the mid-1970s. "Richard Nixon got in trouble because of a break-in and he had two choices – resign or go on trial. So, he resigned." Turning to the other paper, he continued, "Elvis Presley was so young when he died. It was so tragic because everybody loved him. I even listen to his music now."

"I think it's crazy that my great uncle had all these papers and saved them from important historic events," said Canaan Sullivan, another third grader and the principal's son. "Now, here they are in our school!"

Lane Grace is another third grader who qualifies as a "History Boy," the principal said. He was not available at the time the others were interviewed.

Brooklyn Williams is a sixth grader, a member of the Williams family, and a participant in the Colorado trip. She said, "I thought it was really cool how our great uncle lived through the time period when all this stuff was actually happening and how he actually knew these newspapers could really be useful someday."

The History Boys couldn't agree more. They see the recent arrival of the newspapers from decades past as a red letter day.

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