Two original letters from Ben Franklin and copies of Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette will highlight an event for area fifth- and eighth-graders on the Fort Hays State University campus on Sept. 28.
"This promises to be a fulfilling and educational program related to the life of one of America's greatest Founding Fathers," said Mark Colwell, assistant director of FHSU's American Democracy Project.
The Ben Franklin Papers is intended to begin a new annual series hosted by FHSU's Center for Civic Leadership (CCL) with assistance from the College of Education and Technology, the provost, the American Democracy Project, the Department of History and Forsyth Library. After this year, said Colwell, the event will be scheduled in conjunction with Constitution Week.
The program will feature a presentation by Dr. Todd Leahy, chair of the Department of History, and will include interactive student displays presented by students from the Department of Teacher Education.
Fifth-graders from Hays, Ellis and Victoria will attend from 9 to 11 a.m. at Gross Memorial Coliseum on the FHSU campus. Eighth-graders will attend from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
The centerpiece is two letters -- in Ben Franklin's handwriting -- and original copies of Franklin’s newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette. The letters and papers were donated to Forsyth Library by FHSU alumni Dr. Cecil B. Currey.
The CCL, Department of Teacher Education and Forsyth Library have compiled supplemental educational materials for teachers. The materials include coloring books, pocket-sized copies of the U.S. Constitution, interactive online resources and other materials created by elementary school social studies students taught by Sue Boldra and Dr. Sue Jacobs.
Students can also take part in an essay contest. One prize winner each from the fifth and eighth grades will receive an engraved iPod shuffle provided by the CCL. The winners will be announced at an all-school assembly in October.
For more information about the Ben Franklin Papers, contact Colwell at firstname.lastname@example.org or Matthew Musgrove, a CCL consultant, at email@example.com. The phone number for the American Democracy Project office at FHSU is (785) 628-4668.