By Jillian Kurtz
Fishers resident Troy Hammon, who teaches at Shortidge High School in Indianapolis, was presented with the Caleb Mills Indiana History Teacher of the Year Award for making a significant contribution to history teaching in Indiana.
Presented by the Indiana Historical Society, Hammon is a part of the Founders Day honorees for 2021.
“Founders Day Awards honor the people and organizations who toil in the fields of history to create resources that benefit our state and its many communities,” said Susan Jones-Huffine, chair of the board of trustees of the Indiana Historical Society. “Our history proves that in times like these, we have reason to be hopeful.”
In his 25th year teaching, Hammon continues to find new ways to engage and excite students to learn about history and understand why it is important to study. He began developing curriculum in 1997 for an Indiana history course at Westfield High School and continued to incorporate that information at his next teaching stops.
Hammon has since helped shift the focus of an ethnic studies course to focus on the experiences of ethnic groups within Indianapolis and Indiana as a whole.
“I strove to include Indiana history, especially connections with Indianapolis with primary sources, including news articles and photos, to help my students better connect to the information while seeing their community in the content,” Hammon said.
By incorporating students’ own communities into their lessons, Hammon saw an increase in their interest in the topics.
“Textbooks are not the centerpiece, they are a supplement,” Hammon said. “I always try to get the kids out and ‘doing the history.’ I’ve taken a group to the We The People Competition when I taught government. I also sponsor the model United Nations. The simulations have always driven both me and the students.”