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HISTORY AT HEREFORD 


Dear Friends and Members of the West Texas Historical Association (WTHA)

It is not often that we have news that needs to be sent forward by itself owing to its importance. Many of us who love history and are involved in this association and others like it occasionally rue the seemingly diminished awareness of history. However, there is a center of history excellence alive and well in the heartland of West Texas that is incubating and nurturing the love of history in the next generation. Mr. Richard LaMascus a Social Science Teacher at Hereford High School has guided an award winning Special Projects social science program that has exhibited state and national excellence. The WTHA encountered him with his students at a recent Quanah Parker Trail installation where one of them, Matthew Wilhelm, helped organize and raise money for the arrow installation. He is a member of a much larger program that built on the good work of long-time educator and school board member Carolyn Waters.

The current Special Projects program has expanded the horizon of social studies among the high school students in Hereford, Texas. The list of accomplishments are extensive and they include Hereford winning the Texas UIL Team Social Science Championship two of the last four years and one student, Andrew White, took first place this year at State with his Interpretive Web Site--Devils Rope [barbed wire]-- and advanced to the National History Day Competition in College Park Maryland. Mr. LaMascus said that West Texas is a hot-bed for educational excellence, ". . . our region encompassing El Paso to Fort Worth including the entire Texas Panhandle has been the most competitive in the State of Texas."

Congratulations to the students and teachers at Hereford ISD. All of West Texas applauds you. For LaMascus’ comments about the Hereford High School Special Projects Social Science program please see the note below.
Best wishes, Tai

Tai Kreidler
Executive Director
West Texas Historical Assn

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E. Richard LaMascus
Hereford high School
Social Studies Department Head
UIL Academic Coach
richardlamascus@herefordisd.net

Thank you for your interest in the History program here at Hereford High School. My name is Richard LaMascus and I am starting my 14th year as a Social Studies Teacher at Hereford High School and my second year as the High School’s Social Studies Department Head. One of the first people I met upon moving to Hereford is Carolyn Waters. She has been and continues to be a wonderful teacher/mentor, school board member, and supporter of the History programs in and around Deaf Smith County.Reflecting on the photos taken of last year’s Special Topic’s History group, I truly did not realize how much we participated in and/or accomplished this past school year. Among the places visited and programs participated in include:

•Museum of the Plains – Perryton TX, Lecture and question and answer session with S.C. Gwynne, Author of “Empire of the Summer Moon”.
•Presentations to Hereford’s Lion’s Club twice, and the Quanah Parker Trail committee.
•Touring the Crosby County Museum, Deaf Smith County Museum, Panhandle Plains Museum, Palo Duro Canyon and Blanco Canyon.
•We visited and toured several Texas Forts including: Fort Phantom Canyon in Abilene, Fort Concho in San Angelo, Fort McKavett outside of Menard TX, and the still being excavated Spanish Presidio along the San Saba River.
•We competed in several different area, state, and national contests including: The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Columbus essay writing contest, and in History Day and UIL Academic competitions in Canyon, Lubbock, Abilene, Austin, and College Park Maryland. Andrew White and I also spent three days touring Washington D.C., Gettysburg PA, and Harpers Ferry WV.
•Eagle Scout Matthew Wilhelm helped organize and raise money for the Quanah Parker Trail Arrows placed in Hereford.

Two years ago, Hereford High School began a Special Topics/Research class aimed at providing an option for but not exclusive to GT students’ grades 10 thru 12. The TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) for this class encourage students to research, analyze, and create projects under the Social Studies theme. Simply put, we research analyze and write at a much deeper level than our normal survey classes. We began creating projects for the Texas History Day competition where the requirements for research, annotated bibliographies, and in-depth study fit perfectly with the requirements for this class. The students also study and work towards our UIL Competitions specifically, Current Issues and Events, and Social Studies.

Each of the past two years, Hereford High School has qualified seven to eight students to the Texas History Day competition in Austin Texas. This past May one student, Andrew White, took first place at State with his Interpretive Web Site entitled “The Devil’s Rope” advancing to the National History Day Competition in College Park Maryland. His success has inspired many of my Special Topics students to give it their all this upcoming year wanting to equal or surpass what this fine young man accomplished in 2013.
I also have the privilege of coaching our State winning UIL Social Studies Team. We have won almost every competition entered the past seven years. Our accomplishments include:

•Seven straight District Championships and numerous invitational tournament championships.

•Three Regionals Championships where for the past decade, our region encompassing El Paso to Fort Worth including the entire Texas Panhandle has been the most competitive in the State of Texas

•Five straight years qualifying for the UIL State Academic Tournament winning two State Championships in 2010 and 2013.

Our assigned topics varied greatly including the American Revolution, The Supreme Court, Sub-Saharan Africa, American Civil War, US Space Exploration, Latin America, and last year’s Native American History. This year’s topic may be the most challenging yet, Australia and Oceania; with the assigned book, “Commonwealth of Thieves” the Birth of Australia, by Thomas Keneally. Many top students in Hereford High School will once again compete for one of the final four spots on this great Academic team.
Just a note, over the past decade, Hereford’s UIL Social Studies team has included many of our Valedictorians and Salutatorians and numerous others who have gone on to prestigious universities including the Air Force Academy, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, and of course Texas Tech. Five or more students from past teams have entered Texas Tech’s Honor’s program majoring in Engineering. Student scholarships are far too numerous to count.
http://www.notevenpast.org/websites/devils-rope Andrew White’s Website as discussed in Not Even Past


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