Searcy High School EAST project dedication today

   

Searcy High School EAST project dedication today
5/19/2014 11:55:45 AM

The public is invited to join the Searcy High School EAST program and Searcy Parks and Recreation to celebrate the completion of the Walk Through History project, installation of the permanent sign and dedication of the historic walking trail in downtown Searcy. The event begins at 3:30 p.m. at the Benjamin Clayton Black House May 19.

Monday, May 19, 2014
3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
300 East Race Avenue
Searcy, Ark.

Submitted by Rinda Hall, EAST Facilitator at Searcy High School

Searcy Parks and Recreation Department and Searcy High School’s EAST program are pleased to officially open the “Walk Through History” trail throughout downtown Searcy.

The trail features 16 historic properties, many of which have existed for over 100 years. The three-mile course is bordered on the north by Race Street, the south by Spring Park, the east by Grand Street at Harding University, and the west by Sowell Street. A permanent sign has been installed at the historic Benjamin Clayton Black House at 300 Race Street to mark the trail’s opening. Citizens and visitors will be able to access an interactive story map of the properties by scanning the QR (Quick Response) code embedded in the permanent signage allowing them to take their own Walk Through History.

The project was started by Searcy EAST in January 2013 following a visit by Becky Comet, who lost 88 pounds as a contestant of “The Biggest Loser” NBC television program. Based on her message of health and fitness, EAST students developed the idea of a trail winding through the historic district of Searcy.

Working during the spring and summer of 2013, EAST students organized the trail, researched ownership records and property history, and created a story map to tell the history of each property. “EAST students have learned valuable life lessons through their work on this project - quality projects take time and dedication,” said Rinda Hall, EAST facilitator. “This project provided experiences for students to work with community leaders through research, planning and development, with opportunities for presentations to our partner organizations and media, and the exposure and use of industry-grade software and hardware.”

Searcy Parks & Recreation greatly helped students by providing advice, assistance and contacts. Additionally, the department hosted a series of community partner meetings where leaders working in education, city government, advertising, chamber of commerce, natural gas industry and media provided valuable input to students regarding the trail. 

Brian Smith, Director of Searcy Parks & Recreation, commented “we have successfully partnered with the EAST program on several projects. The current ‘Walk Through History’ project is a wonderful historic educational project we are proud to be a part of. This will help young and old alike learn more about Searcy history and heritage.”

As an initial means of introduction, a Zombie Fun Run was held on the trail on November 23 with approximately 100 participants.”We hope to keep the trail and run ongoing projects,” says junior Hunter Ingle, project manager of the Walk Through History. “Each year we hope to add properties to the interactive story map and continue to provide community activities (like the Zombie Run) which encourage citizens continued use of the trail.”

The Searcy EAST program is delighted to present their hard work on the “Walk Through History” trail to residents of Searcy and those who may visit the city. “My students continue to amaze me each and every day as they solve problems and work together for the betterment of our community,” said Hall.

This EAST Beyond the Bell project is funded by the EAST Beyond the Bell Grant made possible by the Arkansas Department of Education and the EAST Initiative. A second grant for the project was made possible by BHP Billiton. BHP Billiton also funded EAST projects at Wonderview High School, Clinton High School, Greenbrier High School and Rose Bud High School in the past year. “We were pleased to have the opportunity to partner with these schools on community-based student-led projects,” said Danny Games, External Affairs Manager at BHP. “It is a great learning model for students and communities alike.”

For more information, please contact: Rinda Hall, EAST Program Facilitator, Searcy High School at 501-551-0006.

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