Dec. 2015 Jefferson Award Winner: Teacher Colin Hanson - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Dec. 2015 Jefferson Award Winner: Teacher Colin Hanson

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EDGAR (WAOW) - When you walk into Colin Hanson's classroom in Edgar, the energy is obvious.

This busy father and husband has been awarded a Jefferson Award for his efforts to bring history to life through those who lived it.

He believes those history-makers can help influence the future.

"You can learn a lot from textbooks and the internet but you cannot replace first-hand accounts," Hanson said.

After reading a book written by a survivor of the genocide in Rwanda, Hanson set out to bring her to central Wisconsin. 

"You cannot replace someone who can tell you this is what I did and this is what I experienced. This is what I saw," he said. 

Her presentation laid the groundwork for a new venture called  "A Walk in Their Shoes."

About a dozen school districts in central Wisconsin are working on the projects and Hanson hopes to make the program statewide, Hanson said.

A wall at Hanson's school is now dedicated to history-makers the program has brought to the area since 2007.

Members of the Little Rock 9 who fought segregation and members of the World War II Ghost Army who deceived the Nazi's are among the groups that have traveled to Wisconsin to tell their stories - thanks to Hanson's effort.
 
"He is really an inspiration. He challenges me to be a better teacher and to think outside the box," said fellow teacher Rob Hughes, who nominated Hanson for a Jefferson Award. "It is enriching for our community and I am very proud to have him as a friend."
 

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