Students show off local history knowledge

A Marion Elementary School student wins the top prize of $500 at the first Rotary Club history quiz.

A Marion Elementary School student wins the top prize of $500 at the first Rotary Club history quiz.

July 22, 2002|by LAURA ERNDE

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Did you know that the oldest building in Chambersburg is now occupied by Sellers Funeral Home?

Or that Nellie Fox is the Franklin County native inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame?

Those were just some of the local history tidbits fifth-graders were asked about Sunday at a contest sponsored by the Rotary Club of Chambersburg.

"I asked these questions to grown-ups at my house and none of them knew the answers," said master of ceremonies Bob Harrison.

Public and private elementary schools in the Chambersburg area nominated the eight contestants, who competed at the Wilson College Science Center.


Kimberly Smith of Marion Elementary School won the $500 first prize, donated by Solar Shine Car Wash of Chambersburg.

Smith was in third place going into the final round, which was set up to mimic "Final Jeopardy." All four contestants missed the question and were docked by the amount of points they had wagered.

The question concerned the burning of Chambersburg in 1864 and why Confederates burned the home of Franklin County Superintendent of Schools Andrew J. McElwain, even though it was outside the "burn zone."

Joey McClelland, a student at Cumberland Valley Christian School, came close to getting it right. He said McElwain was an abolitionist. The correct answer was because McElwain allowed black students to attend school.

McClelland said if he had won the prize money, he was considering giving it to the missionaries at his church.

Few questions stumped the panel.

Natasha Fritz of Fayetteville, Pa., who had the leading score going into the final round, said she and her family took a walking tour of Chambersburg historic sites to study.

Fittingly, Fritz correctly answered a question about who founded Chambersburg: Lafayette.

Organizer Joe Wolfinger said the idea for the quiz was born out of Tonight Show Jay Leno's "Jaywalking" feature, where he approaches people on the street and asks them history questions.

"Someone said, gee, I wonder how much the kids know about local history," Wolfinger said.

Club members researched and came up with dozens of questions, most of them focusing on local history and a few thrown in to cover state history.

"What we want to do is develop interest in learning local history," he said.

The first-ever quiz was part of the annual ChambersFest community celebration.

ChambersFest continues today with a Pet Parade at United Towers Park at 6:30 p.m.

On Tuesday, the "Almost Anything Goes Games" will be held at Chambersburg Area Senior High School stadium at 6:30 p.m.

On Thursday, the U.S. Army Blues Band will perform a free concert in the Memorial Park band shell at 7 p.m.

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