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HomeArts/LeisureNortheast Middle School Students perform Civil War play

Northeast Middle School Students perform Civil War play

The Customs House Museum and Cultural CenterClarksville, TN – Lauryn Jennings, Ariana Nelson and Brianna Tyre, 8th grade students at Northeast Middle School, performed their short play “Nannie Haskins: Tolerating the Enemy” at the Customs House Museum on Saturday, June 11th.

Tyre played the part of the Southern Woman, Nelson was Nannie Haskins and Jennings performed the part of the Northern Woman.

The Northern and Southern statues argue while Nannie Haskins tells them of her experiences.
The Northern and Southern statues argue while Nannie Haskins tells them of her experiences.

The play is set at the fictional Clarksville Wax Museum in the Nannie Haskins exhibit, which features the wax statues of Nannie Haskins, a Northern Woman and a Southern Woman. When no one is around, and the maintenance man is away, the statues come to life and begin discussing and even debating their persona’s life and times during the Civil War. The play is done in a creative way that draws the audience into the conversations the women are having. After it was over, the young ladies answered questions from the audience about Nannie Haskins, her life, and how they came about picking Nannie Haskins as their topic for the play.

A new curriculum requirement was added to the Program for Academically Superior Students (PASS) classes last year by the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System. It was for students to develop projects for Tennessee History Day. The projects could be anything from writing a paper, developing a website, directing a documentary or creating a play.

Lauryn, Ariana and Brianna, who were already good friends, decided to develop a play as their project for their (PASS) class.

(From left to right) Brianna Tyre, Ariana Nelson and Lauryn Jennings 8th grade students at Northeast Middle School.
(From left to right) Brianna Tyre, Ariana Nelson and Lauryn Jennings 8th grade students at Northeast Middle School.

“The girls struggled at first for a topic.” said Whitney Joyner, Northeast Middle School PASS teacher. “Then Ariana’s father Dr. David Nelson, APSU Associate Professor of History, mentioned that one of his colleagues was working on a project to transcribe the Nannie Haskins’ diary. From there, they developed the play and here we are getting ready to head to College Park, Maryland. We are all so proud of what they have achieved.”

They first took their play to the regional History Day competition at Middle Tennessee State University were they won first place in their age group, along with a special Women’s History Award. From there, they put on their play at the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville Tennessee where they won the State History Day Championship. They are now at the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, competing in the National History Day competition that runs June 12th through June 16th.

About Nannie Haskins

Nannie Haskins Williams (Born: May 24th, 1846 - Died: July 13th, 1930)
Nannie Haskins Williams (Born: May 24th, 1846 - Died: July 13th, 1930)

Clarksvillian Nannie Haskins kept a diary through much of her life. She was 16 when she began the Civil War portion of the diary in 1863. The family lived in a home on the southwest corner of College and Second streets.

Nannie was a teenager when Union soldiers occupied Clarksville after the fall of Fort Donelson in mid-February, 1862. She was passionate in her hatred of the Yankees. She was a talented writer and she chronicled her experiences and observations in her diary. Civil War historians have used the unpublished diaries in their studies because of her wonderful prose which provide excellent quotes.

Nannie Haskins married Henry Williams in 1870. They may have lived in Birmingham, Alabama, for a while and then in Todd County, Kentucky. Williams had four children by a previous marriage, and he and Nannie had six children. Nannie and Henry and several of their children are buried in Greenwood Cemetery.


About the Program for Academically Superior Students at North East Middle School

NEMS Pass EaglesAt Northeast Middle School, our PASS program for the intellectually gifted is designed as a 90 minute block of reading and language arts curriculum. The program uses novels, anthologies, nonfiction genres, and the Wordly Wise vocabulary series to round out the reading focus. In addition, students participate in Artifact Exchange Box, National History Day, and Project Citizen, a civics project that promotes competent and responsible participation in local and state government. Teaching of the language arts curriculum is integrated and embedded in student writing and Wordly Wise instruction. The program as a whole is designed to challenge students to think critically and use analysis in examining complex issues and to develop higher order thinking skills.

For more information, visit http:/northeastmiddlepass.weebly.com

About National History Day

National History DayNational History Day (NHD) is a highly regarded academic program for elementary and secondary school students.

Each year, more than half a million students, encouraged by thousands of teachers nationwide participate in the NHD contest. Students choose historical topics related to a theme and conduct extensive primary and secondary research through libraries, archives, museums, oral history interviews and historic sites. After analyzing and interpreting their sources and drawing conclusions about their topics’ significance in history, students present their work in original papers, websites, exhibits, performances and documentaries. These products are entered into competitions in the spring at local, state and national levels where they are evaluated by professional historians and educators. The program culminates in the Kenneth E. Behring National Contest each June held at the University of Maryland at College Park.

In addition to discovering the exciting world of the past, NHD also helps students develop the following attributes that are critical for future success:

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Research and reading skills
  • Oral and written communication and presentation skills
  • Self esteem and confidence
  • A sense of responsibility for and involvement in the democratic process

More than 5 million students have gone on to careers in business, law, medicine and countless other disciplines where they are putting into practice what they learned through NHD.

For more information, visit www.nhd.org


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