Five Minutes With: Carl Harrington

Five Minutes With: Carl Harrington

November 22, 2013 

COURTESY OF DENA COWARD

History teacher and virtual museum curator Carl Harrington also holds a national championship in bass fishing.

Q: As a history teacher at East Wake Academy, you have recently received grant money to start a virtual history museum. What is that exactly?

A: I got the idea when a former student of mine came in with a container full of World War I documents and artifacts that belonged to his great-grandfather, who fought in the war. I applied for a Bright Ideas grant and received a scanner so we can scan the documents. We also have the capability to take pictures of items, from all sides – such as a Vietnam gas mask – and we can then place those photos in the museum. It is also great because say something happens, like a fire or the documents are destroyed, at least we have them documented and at least there is a copy of them.

Q: You also recently received another grant, correct?

A: I received another Bright Ideas grant to purchase iPads for my students. They can research a historic event and then shoot or produce a documentary about the event for the other students to see – they can do all of this using the iPads. It is sort of like a news account of the event.

Q: You obviously have a love of history. Did you always dream of one day becoming a history teacher or working in a museum?

A: I had always wanted to attend North Carolina State (University) and I knew I wanted to either be a zoologist, veterinarian, engineer or have a major that dealt with electronics but I have never really been that strong in math and I struggled with some of the engineering classes at State. I had a computer language class that really got me. I have always had a passion for history, but I never really wanted to be a teacher.

Q: Why is that?

A: My mom was a teacher and I can’t really say she discouraged me, but she knew the challenges that came with the career and I knew there was not a lot of monetary award in a job that can be so challenging. Both my sister and I later became teachers. It was the one act of rebellion that we both committed (laughing). My dad though – he was the history buff and I suppose I got my love of it from him. We grew up (in Bertie County) about an hour and a half from Williamsburg (Virginia) so we took a lot of family vacations there. We also took a summer vacation to Gettysburg. He always saw me as a history teacher and even mentioned it to me my senior year in high school. My mom was a math teacher but my sister and I teach history. I taught one year at East Wake High before coming here.

Q: Is American history your favorite? What time period is your favorite?

A: I like the Colonial Period because of the strong personalities, and I also like the Civil War but you know, I think the World War I period is becoming my favorite. When you look into it, so many of the problems that we are dealing with today stem from World War I.

Q: You picked up a love of woodworking from your dad as well.

A: My dad was good – he could make some furniture. And growing up, he would make toys for the kids in our area at Christmas. I mostly make ornaments and fountain pens. I have sold them at craft shows, like Winterfest here at our school.

Q: What are some of your other hobbies?

A: I am a photographer. And I like to garden. I grow Bolivian cucumbers and Jerusalem artichokes. They are perennials and come back every year so it is like no-fuss gardening. I also like to fish, and fly fish when I get the chance. I was on the bass fishing team at State and we won the national championship.

Q: There is a bass fishing team at N.C. State? And you won the national championship?

A: Yes – one of the few we have won in the past 20 years (smiling). It even opened up some opportunities for me while I was at State. I got a job with the Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department teaching the kids how to fish. Just the basics, what a hook is, stuff like that. When I get a chance, I like to fish – it is relaxing.

Correspondent Dena Coward

Eastern Wake News is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service