History Teacher Chuck Yarborough Recognized on National Level


Catherine Li

MSMS history teacher Chuck Yarborough shares why he believes southern history is relevant in both current events and the classroom.

Davan Reece, Staff Writer

On Friday, April 5, MSMS Teacher Chuck Yarborough, who would normally be running his award-winning program and MSMS staple program Tales from the Crypt, was noticeably absent from the program’s closing performance, his first absence in years. Instead, Yarborough was at the 2019 Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting in Philadelphia where he received Tachau Teacher of the Year Award.

According to a press release from the OAH following Yarborough’s achievement, the Tachau Teacher of the Year Award is awarded “annually for contributions made by pre-collegiate teachers to improve history education within the field of American history.”

“Mr. Yarborough has created an innovative curriculum that sparks his students’ interest in local history while teaching them crucial skills of historical inquiry,” said the OAH press release.

In the release, Yarborough was credited for his involvement with the Tales from the Crypt performance along with the Eighth of May Emancipation Celebration.

“For the OAH to recognize me with the 2019 Tachau Teacher of the Year award is an amazing honor. Being in the company of educators and historians who have received the award previously feels extraordinary,” Yarborough said.

The Organization of American Historians is the nation’s largest professional society dedicated to the study and teaching of American History at the collegiate level (graduate and undergraduate) as well as the secondary level. Nearly every well-known historian on TV, in a documentary or on a news show has been involved with OAH at some point. According to Yarborough, “It is a very important group. If it were baseball, this would be the Major Leagues.”

Yarborough attributed much of his success to his research-focused programs Tales and Eighth of May. “One thing I took away from the conference is how exceptional our research/performance model is – both at the secondary and college level,” Yarborough said. “The awards program described both the Tales from the Crypt and the Eighth of May Emancipation Celebration research/performance projects, pointing out that these have not only become events drawing visitors from across our state and nation to Columbus but which have also been imitated at other schools and in communities around the country.

“In fact, just this past week I was invited to speak at the Chautauqua Institution in New York to share our work,” Yarborough said.

Yarborough spent his time at the convention with internationally recognized historians and even Natasha Trethewey, a Mississippi Gulf Coast native and Pulitzer-prize winning poet.

Nevertheless, Yarborough didn’t take all the credit for his recent acclamations. “But, of course, any award like this is really shared with my amazing students who consistently perform excellent research and convert that to a community service through performance.”

Following the conclusion of the Tales from the Crypt performances, Yarborough is gearing up for the aforementioned Eighth of May Emancipation Celebration on May 8, starting at 5:30 pm.