Building Better Schools: Toledo School for the Arts students discover their ancestry

Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 5:22 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) -Toledo School for the Arts seniors is learning pivotal research skills by journeying through their ancestry.

The school’s humanities class students are embarking on a special project to learn more about their family tree.

“I hope by having them dive into their ancestry and genealogy they get a better sense of this is who I am, this is where I came from, these are the people who’ve come before me. While we absolutely have challenges in our life today, look at these great struggles and challenges those who came before me, they’ve overcome,” Taylor Moyer, TSA humanities teacher said.

TSA senior Walter Johnson said while he’s spoken with his family before he’s never discussed their genealogy.

“We’ve talked about grandparents and great-grandparents before but nothing like this deep into it, so it’ll be fun to like interview my grandpa and learn more about family that I didn’t really know about,” Johnson said.

TSA senior Catherine Schroeder said she hopes the project deepens her relationship with her grandmother.

“I am interviewing my grandmother, so I think having it and knowing more about her life is really nice because I really don’t talk to her like that. I talk to her, but I don’t really get deep with her,” she said.

Schroeder added that she is interested in learning how life has changed in just two generations.

“My grandmother who is still alive and still doing very well did not have indoor plumbing until she was 18. That is really crazy to think about here in Northwest Ohio, but it’s that little bit right there that gets people really excited ‘well I wanna know more then, so you went outside in the middle of winter to go to the bathroom’ ‘Yeah, I did,’” Moyer said.

Some students have traced their ancestors to the titanic, while others found they’re related to celebrities.

Kendall Petersen, a TSA senior, was quite surprised by the members of her family tree.

“I’m related to quite a few celebrities. Meghan Trainor, I’m related to Alex Trebek and the Prime Minister of Canada. It’s very funny. We find all sorts of crazy information. I think that’s the fun part of this project is you can find crazy information and fun things. You can make this something more than a project,” she said.

No matter the relation, students are learn a tremendous amount of history as this is a senior project they will remember even after high school.

“I want students to be able to take that with them in a hardcopy format and inside themselves too,” Moyer said.

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