Students give community leaders an inside look at Bartleby projects

Published 5:24 pm Thursday, December 7, 2017

Future development within the region continues to look bright thanks to a certain band of students from Elizabethton High School.
Area businesses, organizations, school systems and community leaders were able to take in the full array of benefits students part of the Bartleby Project have offered to the community so far during a special open house ceremony held Thursday, Dec. 7, at Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) – Elizabethton.
Since 2016, Bartleby has made its way into the EHS curriculum following the school’s designation as a national winner for the “Super School” proposal during the XQ America’s national contest held last year. With the recognition and monetary awards, the school was able to implement two new classes – Community Improvement and Entrepreneurship – along with creating a student liaison position for the Elizabethton City Schools Board of Education.
Throughout the morning event, students were able to share in the different projects that were created out of the Community Improvement class – which is part of the school’s first academic semester. Projects range from the Elizabethton Walking Tour, downtown murals, mental health support groups, revitalizing Kiwanis park and beautification of various well-known structures in the city and county.
Bartleby’s last open event was months ago and Alex Campbell, Bartleby instructor and EHS teacher, mentioned it was great for the public to see the product of the students’ hard work.
“It was great to talk about what we wanted to do. Today was the day we had the chance to show what we’ve been able to do,” Campbell said. “Our best product is our students. That’s what we make at school, young adults who are going to go out in the word and do things for us. To have the students here, part of the event, was the best part for me. I don’t work with these students on a daily basis. These presentations were really eye-opening for me to see the work they’ve been able to accomplish.”
Watching the students grow was a joy for Campbell. The teacher talked about the group of Megan Young, Abigail Richardson and Emily Richardson breaking out of the comfort zone for their presentation on book clubs during the open house.
“I had them last year. From where they were six months ago to now, I about couldn’t recognize them,” he said. “They were shy, soft-spoken and today they were about to get in front of a lot of important people from the area and share what they’ve been able to accomplish. As a teacher, I would say the biggest thing I’ve enjoyed out of this is seeing the personal growth of each of the students.”
Bartleby is led by Terry Smith, program director, and features a bevy of EHS teachers and community leaders offering guidance for each of the students. Dustin Hensley, a teacher at the school, stated that Bartleby has allowed the school to forge various important partnerships, ranging from MIT to Stanford University, and that the goal moving forward is to grow the partnerships into seeing Northeast Tennessee grow into a vibrant and productive area for the future generation.
Kayla Carter, who previously served as the Carter County Tourism Coordinator, shared her experience working alongside Kira Dillard, Jared Grindstaff and Lawson Wagner for the Elizabethton Walking Tour.
While adding they were a joy to work with, she added their excitement and willingness to work and learn led her to be inspired and that they work helps add a sense of pride within the community.
Moving forward, Campbell added the school is preparing to unveil the Entrepreneurship class next semester. Bartleby’s goal is to serve 100 students in 2018 and 200 the following year. Campbell added the program is continually seeking partners for projects within the region.
For more information on how to get involved with Bartleby, contact Smith at or call (423) 547-8015 x 1551.

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