Professor wants to take you on a trip

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 11, 2010

Do you know where Pocahontas is buried today? Do you know why the land around Jamestown was named Virginia?

A history professor at Ohio University Southern wants to take you on a trip to Colonial Virginia this fall to answer those questions. The trip is open for students to get credit, as well as members of the community who want to learn about American history.

Robert Leith has been a professor of history for 43 years. He has taken his classes all over the eastern United States, touring the great landmarks of American history.

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“I’ve got to see an awful lot of the United States because of my students and the school supporting me in this,” said Leith.

The bus will be rolling out on Sept. 30 and retuning on Oct. 3.

“We will leave on a very nice bus on a Thursday night at midnight,” said Leith. “We use Friday and Saturday mainly as our touring days, and heavily touring from 8 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m. Then Sunday we always start back and pick up things and tour and we’re back home for classes on Monday.

The trip will include a visit to Jamestown, the first permanent English colony; Williamsburg, home of the House of Burgesses; and Yorktown, where the last major battle of the American Revolution was fought.

The trip is education, but Professor Leith wants those involved to leave their mark on these historical sites, as well.

“I made it a requirement, for those taking the class for credit, that if they want a grade in the class they have to do a work project on those historic sites, to make that place better in history,” said Leith. “That is just for the kids who take it for credit, that’s part of their grade, but the other people do it too.”

Professor Leith said that his former groups have put in a water line in Petersburg, Va. and cleaned up garbage, stabilized a fence at Gettysburg and took out garbage dumb at Perryville Ky. One of his groups even set a record for planting 200 trees.

“I’ll never forget that we went down to Fort Donelson and Shiloh at Tennessee. We planted the dogwood trees that are growing parallel to the river.”

“The kids work hard, you know, and they can take their kids back someday and say, ‘See those 200 trees there in the West Woods at Antietam? I help plant those.’”

Travel World at Ohio University Southern is arranging the accommodations for the trip.

Students who want to take the trip for four hours of credit must register for History 498 A. They can fill out a special form at Travel World to ensure that credit is received, along with the general trip application.

Students registered for the class will meet once a week after the trip to discuss and prepare for the final exam. Students may choose which grade they want to achieve. For a C, the student must only participate in the class discussions. To get a B, the student must take the final exam and earn a B on it. The get an A, the student must take the final exam and write a flawless essay.

Members of the community who would like to go can fill out the application at Travel World also. There are no classes or exams to follow.

The cost of the trip is based on room occupancy.

Single room accommodation is $479. Double occupancy is $398 per person. Three people per room is $379 each. Four people per room is $369 each.

A $100 deposit is due by July 30 to ensure a seat on the bus.

The remainder of the fee is due by Aug. 13.

The cost of the trip includes six meals: three breakfasts, two lunches and one dinner. The cost also includes admission to all historical sites, two night’s lodging at Best Western Historic Inn in Williamsburg, and round trip motor coach ticket from Ironton.

If you sign up for the trip to Colonial Virginia, you will find out which great American soaked his feet in ice water everyday and walked four miles every morning, and became the first American to eat tomatoes on a regular basis. You can also find out where Patrick Henry gave his famous “Give Me Liberty” speech.

To contact Travel World, call 740-533-4630. To contact Ohio University Southern, call (740) 533-4600.