This upcoming November 8th at 10:29 a.m., the exact date and time in 1889 that Montana became a state, 135 years ago, Jenifer Powell will ring the Centennial Bell as Montana's History Teacher of the Year.

On top of this honor, she will receive over $3,000 for class materials, speakers, trips and other things to promote learning.  The funds come from the Montana Television Network, the Sons and Daughters of Montana Pioneers, the Montana Historical Society and the 1889 Coffeehouse in Helena.

Miss Powell guides seventh graders at Corvallis Middle School in active, immersive history.  This even includes some paleontology related to Montana dinosaurs and later animals.  She gives a broad and diverse span of state history to explore and learn from.  "I feel it is extremely important for my students to be exposed to many ideas, backgrounds, and cultures because Montana is still a melting pot.”

That immersion can be very in-your-face, with a field trip to Wyoming's Heart Mountain Interment Camp, used during the War.  It is a sobering lesson about history, that it has the good, the bad and the ugly.

One of Miss Powell's students, Blakelee, wrote this praise for her effectiveness.  “She makes Montana history interesting and keeps us locked in and entertained while teaching us tons without us really even realizing.”  This is truly a great accomplishment for a teacher in her fifth year.

Vintage american western wagon
Credit: TSM Media Center
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Miss Powell Should Write a Teacher's Manual for History

My late mother and I have lamented that History is not being taught well in schools.  Graduates can't tell you what the three branches of government are, nor who was the second President of the United States.  So any teacher who can inspire students to learn history has the secret sauce.  Miss Jenifer Powell should consider a side gig creating a teaching guide.

Now that I think about it, may Miss Powell may later become Professor Powell, and impart her love for the teaching craft to new generations of instructors.  My gosh, she may restore History education in Montana.  Many a grandparent will be grateful.

Give Miss Powell every scholarship she wants!

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