New History Club at CHS

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

In the months following Chatham High School’s Model Congress trip, a new club was created in celebration of politics and US history. This new History Club is the design of eleventh graders Charlotte Butash, Lauren Monson, and Connor Steigerwald. Mr. Carroll, who teaches US 1 and US 2 at the high school, volunteered to supervise the club’s activities.

“History Club was kind of born out of Model Congress actually,” he said, when asked about the club’s formation. “Kids wanted to keep learning, not necessarily about the politics, but definitely about the US government and history in general.”

Kids at CHS have certainly taken a huge interest in the club. Its very first meeting was so crowded that they had to switch to a different room! Despite a substantial drop off at the second meeting, enthusiasm has not been reduced. That meeting was focused on one of the most controversial events of the twentieth century; the JFK assassination. Debates became very heated as club members discussed the many conspiracies surrounding the President’s death. They also watched the infamous tape that documents the assassination, as well as scenes from movies and television shows assessing the event. The 1991 film, JFK, depicts the “Magic Bullet” theory as being impossible, and students watched a short clip from that movie. However, Mr. Carroll demonstrated to the students how that film had been erroneous in portraying the actual trajectory of the “Magic Bullet”. Using evidence from the statement released by the government, and some common sense, the club concluded that a single-shooter was indeed possible. Many other conspiracies were noted, though, and spirited debates ensued about who was actually behind the assassination.

For many juniors and seniors, the clubs presents an opportunity to go back to US history and re-experience the best parts of it. There are no tests, quizzes, or DBQs, but plenty of history, which many students enjoy. The club presents an opportunity for kids to focus on and learn about many events they may have had to gloss over in their usual US classes. It is also open to anyone who many want to join. Students are not condemned for their nerdy-ness, but instead are praised for it. Anyone who wants to learn or talk about history should feel free to come to meetings. Topics range from conspiracies, watching movies, debates about controversial topics, and discussing current events. It’s not like another part of the day where a student would have to sit through a boring lecture; club meetings are boisterous and fun, and they focus on events that club members choose to talk about.

Like many of the clubs at the high school, History Club has a social appeal as well as an academic one. “History club has everything you could want in a club. We’re funny, we’re smart, and we’re attractive,” said co-founder and co-president Charlotte Butash. Mr. Carroll responded, “Well we’re definitely smart, and we’re definitely funny, but as for attractive: I have no comment.”