Tyler McCluskey of Bartlett, an eighth-grader at Josiah Bartlett Elementary School, is the winner of the Bartlett Historical Society's annual prize. (COURTESY PHOTO)

BARTLETT — For the second consecutive year, the Bartlett Historical Society and members of the faculty at the Josiah Bartlett Elementary School in Bartlett challenged the eighth-grade class with the Bartlett History Project.

This project is designed to give the eighth-graders an opportunity to actively learn about topics related to Bartlett history. This year, the project was expanded to include topics related to Jackson history for students from our neighboring town who attend JBES.

The result of this intentionally competitive project is the presentation of the “Bartlett History Award” to the student who most successfully delivers a project that exceeds the criteria of the assignment.

The Bartlett History Project is designed to have each student select a topic related to local history, research that topic through various information sources, write a paper on the topic and develop a presentation to demonstrate what they learned about their topic.

In the first year of the project, the 2018-19 school year, all went according to plan.

This school year, however, the significant element of the pandemic unfortunately changed the entire educational scene, and students found themselves learning from home while their teachers had to shift to new teaching methods in very short order.

As the change to home learning came about, Phil Franklin and Hadley Champlin, both members of the historical society board of directors and directly involved in the project, worked with JBES teacher Jennifer Lord, their primary faculty contact, to adjust the project.

They agreed that the first priority for the students would be their “regular” classwork. Understanding that the change to home learning with its independent study nature would be a challenge for some students, they also agreed to change the Bartlett History Project from a mandatory to a voluntary part of the student’s curriculum.

As a result of this, many students stopped their work on the project to place more emphasis on their other schoolwork.

We are very pleased to announce, however, that we have presented the 2020 “Bartlett History Award” to Tyler McCluskey of Bartlett for his work on his topic "Attitash Mountain Resort — Then and Now."

In his award-winning project and online presentation, Tyler traced the history of Attitash from the very beginning when an idea for a new ski slope was generated to today with Vail Resorts claiming ownership of the mountain.

Along the way, he touched on the early years when the mountain had only four trails, the idea of the monorail to bring skiers to the top of the mountain and the arrangement with the National Forest Service to allow use of the top of the mountain which is part of the White Mountain National Forest.

When asked why he chose this topic, he said that even though he has only lived in the area for about 18 months, he is an avid freestyle skier and has been on the Attitash slopes many times.

With his love of skiing and his familiarity with Attitash, this topic was a great choice for Tyler as he now knows much more about the place where he skis in the winter. Tyler’s name will be added to the Bartlett History Award plaque that is kept at JBES.

Phil Franklin is president of the Bartlett Historical Society.

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