‘History Hounds’ turn guides for Sanford tour

Mar. 14, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

A group of home-schooled students will host a historical tour of downtown Sanford this weekend, and organizers are encouraging the public to join them.

The tour will last from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Saturday, and anyone with a good pair of shoes and a little curiosity is invited. It will start out from the parking lot on Charlotte Avenue, located behind Cafe 121 and across the street from La Dolce Vita and the old town hall.

The tour doesn’t take the full two hours, however. Groups will depart on a staggered basis between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m., said parent Gabrielle Tedrick in an email. She added that she hopes the community gets involved because the children are very excited.

“It is a group of 45 home-schooled kids and teens that learn about the history of North Carolina. We have fun all year around learning about our community and state together,” Tedrick said.

The idea for the tour came after the students studied downtown for a contest they entered last year through the Tar Heel Junior Historian Association that’s open to students in public school, private school and home school.

Stacey Durrell, the group’s advisor, said younger students will lead the tours while older students will be posted at significant locations to delve into further detail.

Durrell said she loves the contests and tours because it’s a better way to learn history than just reading textbooks.

“They get to meet local citizens who can tell them stories about how history has affected them and their families,” she said. “So it personalizes it. And the kids tell me that that’s what they enjoy most about it — that history isn’t just stale dates and numbers.”

She personally learned a lot about Sanford through the process, Durrell said, because she isn’t a native.

She said others like her, who don’t know much about town, ought to attend Saturday’s tour — but she’s also hoping that people who know a lot about the town’s history will come, too.

“We’re hoping for a give and take,” Durrell said. “Because if people who come know things that these kids don’t, they can share it with the kids. And that would be great.”

The kids apparently know a lot, however, as the History Hounds club did well in last year’s statewide Junior Historian contest.

In the elementary division, Cobey Ledford won the literary contest and placed second in the American Revolution Essay Contest, as well as one historic photography contest category; fellow club member Evan Pruette won a different category of the photo contest. Ledford and Alanna Elmore won the artifact search contest, and Elmore also placed second in the exhibit contest. Samuel Hill placed first in the photo contest in two categories and also won second place in the Civil War essay contest.

In the intermediate division, the club won first place for a group video documentary and placed second in the literary contest. The club also received the Youth Preservation Award for a project about Carvers Creek State Park. Also, Daniel Elmore won one historical photo category and placed second in the literary contest. He also received the special award for sports history. John Michael Hill won one historical photo category, and he and Lena Kerley won the artifact search contest.

In the secondary division, Cassandra Tedrick won the African American essay contest, and Hannah Durrell placed second in the exhibit contest.

This year’s winners will be announced in April.