CGS juniors and seniors enjoy history lecture at UMW.
February 3, 2012
Filed under Daily News
By Rebekah Kim
Yearning to learn more about Thomas Jefferson and his Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, 27 CGS juniors and seniors attended a special extra credit history lecture at Dodd Auditorium in UMW last Thursday, Jan. 26.
The UMW presented the annual 2012 Jefferson Lecture titled, “Was America founded as a Christian nation?” The history speaker was John Fea, associate professor of American history at Messiah College. Free and open to the public, the lecture attracted many from Fredericksburg, especially the Commonwealth Governor’s School juniors and seniors, led by Nicholas Jacobs, their history teacher.
“Naturally, this was a great opportunity to hear an authoritative historian speak on his expertise and was also unique because it is given annually in honor of Thomas Jefferson’s Statute of Religious Freedom, which was actually written in Fredericksburg,” Jacobs said. “I believe that, if a person wanted to be a good student of American history, no matter what religious affiliation they may have, they would need to understand the initiate and complex role religion has played in our history.”
The lecture did not only add to the U.S. history knowledge of the students but also left them with unanswered questions.
“He provided a plethora of evidence for both sides of the argument and left the answer up to the listener, which I really enjoyed,” junior Sarah Phillips said. “I was surprised to find that, after the lecture, I still did not feel like I knew the answer to the questions that titles the lecture.”
According to junior Elizabeth Chase, the lecture also acted as a great source of historical information they needed to acquire for their own projects. In other words, the lecture was not only an opportunity for extra credit for the students but also a professional opportunity for them to add onto the content of their academic projects.
“It was such a wonderful opportunity for me to attend a lecture in which a professional U.S. history historian discussed and argued my actual topic for more than an hour,” junior Brian Smith said. “I also went to ask Professor Fea questions about my culminating project topic after the lecture, and we had a good discussion of my topic.”
A good portion of the attendants of the lecture consisted of parents who came along with their CGS students. They expressed a very positive view about how the lecture went and how it enriched the knowledge of not only students but adults also.
“I think he provided a good example of how to maintain a neutral stance on a touchy issue,” Sarah Chase, mother of Elizabeth Chase, said.