Wednesday, March 22, 2006
USI's Owen expert, Dr. Donald Pitzer, assists National History Day contestant
Center for Communal Studies.
The family arrived in the area after midnight March 15, and spent the afternoon in the Center for Communal Studies, located in the Liberal Arts Center. Ernesto and his team are producing a documentary on Robert Owen, founder of the second Utopian experiment at New Harmony, Indiana, for this year’s contest. The 2005-2006 theme is “Taking a Stand in History: People, Ideas, Events.”
“We chose Robert Owen because of the stands he took for workers, education, and Utopian ideas,” Ernesto said. “Dr. Pitzer’s name kept coming up in our research, because of everything he’s written.”
This will be Ernesto’s fourth year competing in the national contest. He has placed fourth in the competition in two previous years. Before they reach the national level, students must compete on the district, regional, and state levels.
The family also has traveled for Alejandro’s projects in the contest, which is for students in sixth- through 12th grades. “We are great supporters of the history fair,” said Pury Reyes. “This research prepares them for college.”
Pitzer was pleased to see the young man’s interest in Robert Owen and New Harmony.
“New Harmony is the epicenter of communal Utopianism and socialism in America. It was the first secular communal society of any note,” he said. “New Harmony is of world-wide interest.”
The Reyes family planned to tour Historic New Harmony and meet with Dan Goodman, collections manager, on March 16, and return to Houston that night.