Franklin Papers to debut at Gross Coliseum

Area fifth- and eighth-grade students will gather on the Fort Hays State University campus at Gross Memorial Coliseum on Sept. 28 for what promises to be a fulfilling and educational program related to the life of one of America's greatest Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin.

The Ben Franklin Papers is a new annual series hosted by the Center for Civic Leadership with assistance from the College of Education and Technology, the office of the provost, the American Democracy Project, the Department of History, and Forsyth Library. The program will host Hays, Ellis and Victoria eighth-graders in the morning from 9 to 11 and fifth graders in the afternoon from 12:30 to 2:30. The program will feature a presentation by Dr. Todd Leahy, chair of the FHSU Department of History, and will also include interactive student displays presented by students from Department of Teacher Education.

The centerpiece of the event is two actual handwritten Ben Franklin letters and 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 letters have an appraised value of $25,000 and $35,000, respectively.

The Center for Civic Leadership at FHSU in collaboration with the Department of Teacher Education and Forsyth Library has compiled supplemental educational materials for fifth- and eighth-grade 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, instructor of teacher education, and Dr. Sue Jacobs, assistant professor of teacher education.

Students will also have an opportunity to take part in an essay contest, with one prize winner from both fifth and eighth grades receiving an engraved iPod shuffle provided by the Center for Civic Leadership. Winners will be announced at an all-school assembly after they are scored in October.

For more information about the Ben Franklin Papers, contact Mark Colwell, assistant director of the American Democracy Project, at

The American Democracy Project office at FHSU can be reached by telephone at (785) 628-4668.

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