Actively Bringing History to Life

By Lindsay Cook

A little over six years ago I was a college freshman at the University of Nevada, studying elementary education and working at Starbucks. I had a coworker at the time that worked part-time at Starbucks and also worked for Nevada Humanities. We talked a lot about education and history, and one day he asked me if I would be interested in being an intern for the Nevada Humanities’ Great Basin Young Chautauqua (GBYC) program. I looked at him and just asked, “What?” I had no idea what he was talking about, and so he began to explain to me what Chautauqua was and told me that they needed an intern; he thought I would be a good fit since my passion was children and their educations. I thought, “why not?” and decided to give it a shot and interview. I got the position, and little did I know what this small gig on the side would bring.

When I first started as an intern for the GBYC program in 2012, I knew that our program was designed to bring history to life, but what I did not know was that the GBYC scholars, who I would have the privilege of working with over the years, are the people of our generation who are going to impact our future and, eventually, their history is what will be brought to life. Now, three years into being the Program Administrator, I can proudly say that these scholars who I have worked with over the last seven years, from the ages of 6 to 16, will make a difference. They will be remembered because of their experience, ambition, standards, hard work, commitment, and passion in all that they do.

During my first year as Program Intern, we had six GBYCs; last year, we had eighteen. Each year we find the most talented and driven students out there. Our GBYCs have returned year after year and one specifically, Max Johnson, has been a part of the GBYC program for longer than me. Our GBYCs are true scholars and exceed in so many areas— academics, the arts, sports, and other extracurricular activities. We have scholars who are in Gifted and Talented, School Within a School (SWAS), and magnet programs, as well as students who have qualified for the International Baccalaureate program. Our scholars participate in Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, baseball, soccer, football, golf, skiing, swimming, dance, art, letterboxing, crafting, piano, flute, and theater groups. They are the faces of future humanitarians and are putting in the work now, to better themselves and ultimately humanity.

The culture, connection, and community I feel when I am with my GBYCs is incomparable to any other setting or event that I’m a part of. These students are different. They are Nevada’s own Great Basin Young Chautauqua scholars, and they are actively bringing history to life.

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Lindsay Cook is a second-grade teacher in the Washoe County School District. She began working for Nevada Humanities seven years ago as an intern for their Great Basin Young Chautauqua (GBYC) program and was later asked to take a more active role in the program as Program Administrator, which is the position she holds today. Lindsay’s passion is education, and she is inspired by the work of the students and GBYC scholars she gets to interact with daily.

Images courtesy of Lindsay Cook.

Maren Rush