Many significant events have taken place in the past 18 years, but students at Sedona Red Rock High School couldn’t learn about them from the history books they were using.
The students in Elaine Watkins’ Advanced Placement U.S. History class were using books that ended with 1992. The class filled the gap with other sources but finally decided more current textbooks were necessary, especially when the people who make the test questions are using a book from 2006.
The new books cost $140 each, and Watkins said the Sedona-Oak Creek School District told her the students could have a fundraiser to cover the cost.
Watkins and her class agreed and came up with an approved plan.
“We bought the books already. Now we have to pay the district back. We owe them $1,600 for 12 books,” Watkins said.
Plans for the fundraiser Watkins and the students came up with began when the bridge across Oak Creek near Tlaquepaque was torn down. Watkins’ husband worked near the bridge and asked the Arizona Department of Transportation crew if he could gather some chunks to use as a fundraiser for the high school. They agreed.
Now, the students have packaged the 100 pieces of the old bridge into clear boxes with a small plaque that reads “Oak Creek Bridge at Tlaquepaque: 1949-2010.” They will sell the numbered boxes along with a certificate of authenticity for $20 each. The No. 1 box will be sold through an e-mail silent auction, Watkins said.
She said the fundraiser is like having a piece of Sedona’s history help buy textbooks for the history class.
“We’re selling an authentic piece of the old bridge — let history help history,” Watkins said, citing the last four words as the fundraiser’s motto.
Junior Alex Bindrim leafed through the old book.
“The book is older than I am. My whole life is after this book. It ends at Bill Clinton’s election — his first one,” Bindrim said.
Since the book was written, three presidents have lived in the White House; O.J. Simpson was put on trial and acquitted in the murder of his wife; several countries have adopted the euro as their official currency; the much anticipated Y2K disaster never happened; terrorists attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001; war was declared in Iraq and Afghanistan; Hurricane Katrina caused flooding and evacuation of thousands in and around New Orleans; and home computers, laptops, digital cameras and cell phones have become commonplace.
Bindrim said he is in the class because he likes learning about people in history who still have an effect today.
“We also discuss the issues and analyze why things happened the way they did then,” Bindrim said. “There are lessons to learn to apply to our own situations, such as [President Andrew] Jackson’s establishment of a two-party system, which was controversial then and still affects politics today. Most people only think of him as the president on the $20 bill.”
Colton Trcic joined the class for fun. He has always enjoyed history and sees the class as very interesting, not boring.
“It’s a mix of knowing what happened and seeing how things were, and compare them to how they are today,” Trcic said.
High School Principal David Lykins is very supportive of the idea of students taking responsibility for their own learning.
“It’s cool. They’re taking Sedona history and translating it into their history books. There’s an obvious bridge between the two,” Lykins said. “Selling the bridge boxes gives the students ownership of the books.”
Anyone interested in buying a bridge box can call Watkins at 204-6712.