History of NHS exhibit opens on Saturday

by Celia Shortt

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Teachers and students in Newnan High School’s History and Social Studies Department have worked for months to collect photos, artifacts and memorabilia illustrating the history of their school for a new exhibit at the Male Academy Museum. NHS history students Lindsay Stewart and Kait Nichols work on the project. 


Newnan High School and the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society will unveil their inaugural student curated exhibit highlighting the history of NHS at the Male Academy Museum Saturday.

“The kids have done all this work,” said Jeff Bishop, coordinator for the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society. “It’s just amazing.”

The idea for this project commemorating the history of NHS came earlier this year when Bishop approached Steve Quesinberry, chair of NHS’ history program, about some changes coming to the Male Academy Museum. Bishop asked Quesinberry if the history club would want to do an exhibit for it.

“We discussed ideas of what to do,” said Quesinberry. “We came around to Newnan High School, which has over 100 years [of history]. It’s been important to this community, and so we thought that would be a good place to start because there are so many people – prominent people in the community or people who have gone on from here and done other things – who went to NHS.”

Troy Cornwell is another NHS history teacher involved with the project.

“It was Jeff’s idea,” said Cornwell. “He brought it to the table. We liked it and decided to run with it. Really, what we’re trying to do here is just tell the story of Newnan [high school].”

“I’m a transplant,” said Aaron Buck, a NHS sponsor involved with the project. “NHS has a special story to tell. The students have started to pick up on that story, and I think the community will be able to tap into that.”

The exhibit showcases all the eras of Newnan’s history – the people, the facilities, the sports, the fine arts and the classroom, said Quesinberry.

These eras will be illustrated by more than 200 artifacts from as far back as the 1800s.

“We’ve talked to a lot of people and gathered a lot of interesting stories. So many people from the community have come forward to participate,” said Quesinberry.

Some of the items include “Willy the Tiger,” the school’s pre-1970 mascot, bricks and fixtures from the pre-1953 high school building that stood on Temple Avenue, turn-of-the-century class pictures, and memorabilia donated by the Coweta Sports Hall of Fame.

“I really hope those who attend the exhibit reflect on the role NHS has played in the community for so long,” said Quesinberry.

This exhibit’s opening will be held Saturday from 1 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Entry to the exhibit is $5 for those who are not members of the historical society, and $2 for children and seniors.

Saturday and Sunday will also feature a photo booth from 1 to 5 p.m., in which attendees will be able to have their photo taken in front of a historical mural painted by the school’s art department.



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