Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN


August 27, 2013

Teaching history gets personal for "Unsung Hero" Mang

GREENSBURG — When she took a job at Greensburg Community High School (GCHS) in the mid-1980s, Family Consumer Science Teacher Sharon Mang had no idea she had family roots in the Tree City stretching all the way back to the mid-19th century.

While living in Greensburg during a 15-year period from 1850 to 1865, Mang’s great-great-great grandmother, Margaret Bird, married, gave birth to five children, divorced and remarried.

Mang didn’t even learn of Bird’s existence until she’d been teaching at GCHS “10 or 15 years.” In the time since, Mang has studied Bird’s life when she can, but recently found a way to incorporate an in-depth investigation of Bird’s life and times into her work as a school teacher.

Her subsequent lesson plan, entitled “Through the Eyes of Margaret and John Bird: The Civil War in Decatur County, Indiana,” was recently named a state winner in ING’s Unsung Heroes program.

Mang first conceived the idea when GCHS History Teacher John Pratt announced that his Fall Chautauqua would revolve around the American Civil War.

Mang’s Housing and Interior Design Class will design and build scale models of the Courthouse square as it looked during the Civil War Era. Her Fashion and Textile students will create Civil War Era clothing, including dresses, uniforms and a quilt. The results of both projects will be displayed at the Fall Chautauqua.

According to a press release, Unsung Heroes honors innovative educators, granting them the means “to bring to life their innovative and engaging teaching methods and ideas for their students.”

Mang has been awarded $2,000 through the program and is now eligible to compete at the national level for awards of $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000.

She told the Daily News that a portion of the grant money will be used to pay the travel expenses of noted Civil War author Deborah Petite. Petite’s book, “The Women will Howl,” details parts of Sherman’s march to Georgia during the Civil War and his seizure and closure of a textile mill in Roswell, Ga.

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