The following is part of a Vandaleer series from partner Preservation Alliance of West Virginia. The series focuses on young adults in West Virginia.
My name is Hailey Horn and I am a West Virginia native from Oak Hill- most commonly known as the little town you have to drive through before you get to the “cool” town of Fayetteville, WV. I attended Oak Hill High School and graduated with honors in 2010. While I was in high school I was quite the athlete; I played sports year round as I bounced from soccer to basketball to tennis. Today I wish I could dribble a basketball without being winded.
I started my college career at Concord University in the fall of 2010, when I quickly realized I wasn’t the scholar I thought I was in high school. My first major was pre-professional biology as I was an aspiring physical therapist- let’s just say that didn’t last very long. By the end of my freshmen year at Concord I had switched my major to Secondary Education with an emphasis in Social Studies, and I thrived. However, life happened- as it always does, and at the end of my sophomore year at Concord I decided to transfer to Marshall University. It would take me two more years to realize it, but I am extremely thankful that my path led me to Marshall. I remained an education major until the middle of my first senior year, when “life” happened again and I was forced to switch majors in order to keep my financial aid. My emphasis on social studies led me to change my major to history, and at the time the shift was supposed to be temporary until I could once again be an education major with financial aid. However, when I switched and was immersed in the history department at Marshall, I knew it was my new home.
After two semesters in the history department I was offered an internship by Dr. Trowbridge to add content to the Clio App. I gladly accepted, as I had the most wonderful experience with Clio the semester prior when I was enrolled in Dr. Trowbridge’s African American Studies course. Our assignment in the class was to add five entries to Clio pertaining to African American history. I decided to focus on my home county, because I was appalled that I had never heard of Carter G. Woodson, the father of Black History Month, when he was such a prominent figure in African American education in Fayette County. I was never taught anything about African American history in Fayette County, and my goal was to find this forgotten narrative and present it to an unknowing community. All sources led to one woman, Jean Evansmore, the owner of DuBois on Main Museum in Mt. Hope, WV. DuBois on Main promotes and preserves the forgotten history of DuBois High School, one of two African American High Schools in Fayette County prior to integration. I walked into Jean’s museum on a Saturday, unannounced, and she dropped everything and spent six hours taking me around the city of Mt. Hope to explain the history of DuBois High School. I was able to create entries for DuBois on Main Museum, the first site of DuBois High School, and the final site of DuBois High School- now known as the empty Mt. Hope High School. I was so fascinated with the story of DuBois High School that I went on to do my capstone research on the school, and the unique story of it’s integration process. (If you’re interested in the story, search for DuBois High School on Clio!)
During my final semester at Marshall University I had the internship with Clio to add thirty entries in the San Francisco area, and also focused on my capstone research. I was awarded $400.00 from the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America for my research on DuBois High School prior to graduation. I graduated from Marshall University in May of 2015 with hopes that my bright, new, and shiny bachelor’s degree in history would land me the job of my dreams. We all know the struggle of young people trying to find a job in our state, let alone a girl with a mediocre G.P.A. and a degree in liberal arts. I continued working the same job I had in college for the next year and three months. In that time, I applied to over seventy positions and had fewer than ten interviews- all with the same result: “We love you! But…”
Thankfully, Preserve WV AmeriCorps was providing opportunities for people all over the state who were just like me. Once I saw that one of the possible service positions was with Clio, I applied immediately. I am happy to say that I am now the AmeriCorps member for Clio, and I am so excited for my service year. Over the course of the year, my project will be to improve all existing content in Clio all over West Virginia, and add entries that are missing. Once all content is improved, I will be reaching out to the corresponding affiliations so that they have a tool to use however they want- whether it be for education, heritage tourism, social media, or preservation efforts. My personal goal is to make connections with every community in West Virginia, just like I did with Fayette County and DuBois High School. So be on the lookout for me- I absolutely cannot wait to meet all of you, and to help utilize Clio to best suit your needs!
A statewide service initiative, the Preserve WV AmeriCorps program places service members at historic non-profit sites or local government agencies for a one-year period where they complete specific projects aimed at improving historic resources and managing volunteers for special events. The end goal of these projects is community revitalization, with a focus on long-term historic preservation and increased use of historic properties and museum collections.