Students to hold mock Wilson press conference

The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum will sponsor a student mock press conference on Friday, Feb. 18, at 2 p.m. in the school forum at Beverley Manor Middle School.

Judd Bankert, portraying President Woodrow Wilson, will take questions from 21 Beverley Manor seventh-graders acting as reporters, and student Cole Fainter will portray President Wilson’s Press Secretary. The entire seventh grade (220 students) will attend.

The program is scheduled in conjunction with Presidents’ Day and is particularly appropriate because President Wilson was the first president to hold regular press conferences. He held the first modern presidential press conference in 1913.

The program marks the conclusion of the seventh-graders’ study of the World War I era. Teachers Scarlett Kiser, Cynthia Bolin, and Angie Clymore teach the unit, designed the program, and selected the student reporters. The students did additional research to compose their questions, and each of the reporters will have the opportunity to ask a question of President Wilson. This is the sixth consecutive year that Beverley Manor has hosted the presidential press conference.

In addition, the Presidential Library announced that it will admit children accompanied by an adult for free on Presidents’ Day, Monday, Feb. 21, from 1o a.m. to 4 p.m. The last guided tour of the Manse will be at 3:15 p.m. Guests can enjoy an engaging guided tour of President Wilson’s birthplace, a beautiful pre-Civil War manse, and the Woodrow Wilson Museum, where six galleries tell his inspiring story as a professor, President, and peacemaker.

The mock press conference is one of the WWPL’s educational outreach programs. The Presidential Library regularly hosts area students for interactive programs that meet Virginia Standards of Learning requirements. In the “Journey Into History” and the “Professor, President, Peacemaker” programs, students engage in group activities in the Woodrow Wilson Museum and the Presidential Library’s classroom and education parlor.

The WWPL also offers “The Great War” and “The Doughboy Experience” for middle school students. In addition, the WWPL hosts two “Journey Into History” three-day interactive history camps with a different theme each summer.

Edited by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at

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