Submitted by Lynn Pietak, SGA Board Member
In my role as an SGA board member, I was asked by President Catherine Long to attend the Georgia Social Studies Fair 2011, to give awards sponsored by the Society for Georgia Archaeology (SGA) and the Georgia Council for Professional Archaeologists (GCPA). The fair was held at Dutchtown High School in Hampton, Georgia.
I brought my daughter, Natasha, a second grader, to experience the fair, to see what it entails, and, of course, to inspire her to be a participant when she is older (participation ranges from 5th to 12th graders). Students from all over the state compete each year for various prizes given out by the Georgia Leadership for the Social Studies and other organizations including National Archives at Atlanta, Friends of the Georgia Archives and History, New Georgia Encyclopedia, SGA and GCPA.
Natasha was fascinated by the variety and types of projects submitted for prizes at the fair, which included entries in all areas of social studies: history, political science, sociology and social psychology, anthropology, economics and geography. A few interesting titles included: “Bullying,” “Slavery in America,” “Walmart: Friend or Foe?” and “Can You Pass the Citizenship Test?”
Some projects were elaborate visual displays and others showed the results of extensive research. Written reports accompanied each. In order to get to the State Fair, these students already won prizes at the local and regional levels and received assistance and support from their dedicated teachers and parents. Among other outstanding qualities, a multi-disciplined approach to their given research question is what won the SGA and GCPA prizes for sixth grader Caleb Spurling, “How Did the Canton Textile Mills Affect the Growth of Canton?” and eighth grader Scotty Kent, “Andersonville vs. Elmira: Does Your Family History Impact Your View of the Past?”
Both projects drew on family histories, which sparked interest in the subjects these students chose to pursue. Both participants looked at change over time using a variety of sources including material culture, documentary and archival information, architecture and oral histories.
My daughter and I really enjoyed attending the fair! Congratulations to our winners!!