Teacher Appreciation Week: In a Tough Year, These Educators Stood OutHistorians in the News
tags: African American history, South Carolina, Clemson University, teaching history
It's been a tough year in education for everyone.
Bizarre schedules, little in-class time for millions, and so many Zoom rooms.
Education reporters in the USA TODAY Network had a front seat to the highs and lows of an extraordinary year of schooling. Those challenges took a toll on many, with 43% of teachers who recently quit citing stress — both before and during COVID-19 — as the chief reason for their departure.
But the industry could be on the verge of an infusion of cash and new blood, now that Joe Biden's American Families Plan is proposing up to $9 billion in federal money to train more people for the profession.
For Teacher Appreciation Week, we're highlighting the educators who stuck with us over the past year because of their tenacity or charm or dogged determination to help students or communities.
The professor piecing together stories of people in unmarked graves at Clemson University
For months, Rhondda Thomas, a historian at Clemson University in South Carolina, has been working to identify and tell the stories of the 604 people buried in unmarked graves at Woodland Cemetery, the on-campus graveyard.
The goal is to honor those buried among the white faculty and alumni at Woodland, which researchers believe include enslaved Africans, sharecroppers, convict laborers and domestic workers who lived and worked in Clemson up until the cemetery was formally dedicated in the 1920s.
"Those graves have been there for a long time. So we didn't discover them," Thomas said. "They were recovered."
The university used ground-penetrating radar to determine the location of 604 graves, discoveries they announced in October 2020.
Thomas has formed a community outreach panel to identify the inhabitants and to connect their modern descendants and residents with the stories buried in the clay.
"I don't see the cemetery project as the game-changer. It's just something that we need to do."