Abraham Lincoln, Ida Wells and Susan B. Anthony have all visited Barnett Shoals Elementary School.
The Time Traveler Project, the brainchild of UGA public administration doctoral candidate Megan LePere-Schloop, has brought these historical greats and more to the elementary school over the past two years in an attempt to bring a historical perspective to the classroom in a creative way.
LePere-Schloop began the project while working on her public administration master’s degree when her daughter started going to BSES. LePere-Schloop already had years of experience from a youth development program in Detroit before she began the master’s program at UGA. The Time Traveler Project has some parallels with the public administration program and LePere-Schloop’s research focus, but that was not the main motivation behind the program, she said.
“It is more about fulfilling values near and dear to my heart,” LePere-Schloop said. “It’s not about class credit.”
Leslie Hale portrayed Susan B. Anthony in the Time Traveler Project while she was in the master’s public administration program with LePere-Schloop last year.
“We both were interested in multifaceted education despite budget cuts and the pressures teachers face now to teach for standardized tests,” Hale said. “When Megan told me about the program, I would have done back-flips if she thought it would have helped.”
Students have shown enthusiasm and interest toward their visitors, LePere-Schloop said.
“They ask so many good questions,” Lepere-Schloop said. “I can see them watching me when I leave to see if I go into a time machine.”
Aaron Redman portrayed Abraham Lincoln while he was in the master’s public administration program with LePere-Schloop.
“I thought the class wouldn’t be very interested,” Redman said. “But the class knew a lot and asked a lot of questions. There were times where it was hard to get a word in.”
LePere-Schloop is taking the program further by applying for a grant to buy costumes. So far each student that has participated in the program has rented or constructed their own costume.
“[Through the Time Traveler Project] the students are exposed to different perspectives and inspired that their perspective matters and can make a difference,” LePere-Schloop said.
BSES students are not the only ones who benefit from the program, Hale said.
“Anyone who enjoys history, performance or both should do [the Time Traveler Project],” Hale said. “It’s a simple way to contribute to the school system and get involved in the community.”