New class highlights little-known history

Charlie Lant '22

Students who are looking to learn about the stories that aren’t discussed in depth in a typical high school history class, or for those who just love history, WTHS has a new opportunity for students to broaden their understanding and knowledge. The new class is called Black, Indigenous, and People of Color’s Voices Throughout History. It is an elective history class that offers dual credit and a new perspective on American history.

Mr. Christopher Mitchell is enthusiastic about teaching this new class, and he was eager to discuss how it came to be. The idea for the class surfaced about four or five years ago. Mitchell felt that there were events and perspectives not being addressed and wanted to create a new class to teach this relatively unknown history. The pandemic gave Mitchell time to think about the important history that has gone unaddressed.

Mitchell’s first attempt to make this new class a reality was unsuccessful. However, this setback was overcome when a group of seniors of the class of 2022 pushed for the creation of a class similar to the idea that Mitchell had. The students engaged in conversations with Mr. Strout and others about the creation of a new class. After making their voices heard, these students got their class and Mitchell was approached about teaching the course.

Briana Sudler, a senior this year, was instrumental in bringing the new class to Washington Township High School. Sudler said that her push for this class stemmed from a project in her social justice class. Sudler feels that this new class is, “giving a different perspective.” Sudler mentioned that these topics should have been taught a while ago.

When asked about the process for creating the curriculum, Mitchell noted that it was difficult. The reality is that there was no blueprint from which to work. This is the first class to touch the historical perspectives of multiple minority races. Mitchell stressed that this is not about just African American or Native American history. Many new perspectives on American history, and lesser-known important events, will be covered.

Mitchell and Ms. Mason worked on the curriculum together this summer. Mitchell worked from June to August, putting together raw materials and subject matter. He said he was working as if it was during the school year. Mitchell also mentioned Mason’s valuable help in creating this new class.

“Knowing this type of history is going to make better people,” said Mitchell.

He pointed out that understanding new historical perspectives will help one understand others. He wants this class to spread. He wants to tell people about what is being discussed in this new class, so everyone’s history can be covered.

Mitchell feels that difficult history is worth discussing. People can’t be scared of difficult topics. Topics such as Native American assimilation, slavery, and the Red Summer are topics that Mitchell feels need to be discussed more deeply.

Students are passionate about this new class as well. Briana Sudler  mentioned that the class is, “Amazing,” and, “Mr. Mitchell is very active.”

Another senior student, Kendelyn Welsh, gave her thoughts on the class.

“Learning about the ‘forgotten’ history– forgotten despite millions of artifacts and aspects of civilizations that still impact our society today– helps to put more modern movements into perspective.”

This class is open to all students and is dual credit. Interested students who want to learn more about this class or plan to take it next year should have a discussion with their counselor during their scheduling appointment for 2022-2023, which usually occurs during 2nd semester.