Advocacy Award

Gibault High School Junior American History Project

Waterloo

During the 2014-15 school year, students in Gibault High School’s 1818 Saint Louis History course participated in a research project to trace the history of some of Waterloo’s most prized public buildings. The project “Discovering the Buildings of Downtown Waterloo” originated with the town’s mayor Thomas Smith, who wanted to install plaques denoting historic buildings throughout the downtown in time for Monroe County’s bicentennial. Led by Mayor Smith and history teacher Matthew Schweizer, junior-level history students at Gibault High School began a year-long project to uncover the history of downtown Waterloo’s most prominent buildings and the people affiliated with them. Students used municipal records, newspapers, biographies and conducted oral histories with longtime residents in the course of the research. Students gained a deeper appreciation for history and engaged countless members of the Waterloo and Monroe County communities. At the conclusion of the project, students presented their findings before the Waterloo City Council and at the Monroe County History Museum as part of the bicentennial celebration.

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