Coach Blevins wins East Tennessee History Teacher of the Year


Cassidy Bailey

Coach Mark Blevins brings his love of historical reenactments into the classroom.

Madison Tenney, Staff Writer

Bearden High School has a reenactor in their midst. Coach Mark Blevins loves to spend his free time getting personal with history.

In June, the East Tennessee Historical Society presented Coach Blevins with the East Tennessee History Teacher of the Year Award. The Historical Society recognized Coach Blevins for this award because of his Americans at War class and how it has come along over so many years.

Coach Blevins, who is also Bearden’s boys basketball coach, was nominated for the award through the Reenactor Society, where they identified him for his endless appreciation and love for reenacting all over the world.

“I do reenacting all over the East,” Coach Blevins said. “We just finished the Sequest for the Civil War’s 150th [Anniversary].”

The award was presented at a ceremonial banquet, featuring many other awards that night. The event was held at the Knoxville Foundry, and several hundred attended.

Over his years at Bearden, Coach Blevins has found that his class is both likable for his students and tends to catch the public’s eye, as it has many times before.

When students first step into his classroom, they can’t help but notice the array of artifacts, posters, and pictures of both American history and of Coach Blevins’s own travels. He has seen nearly every continent from his reenacting adventures and his interest in his own family origins.

On bulletin boards in the class, he has pictures of historical places and monuments from countries ranging from Germany to Australia. Along with pictures, he has his family members’ names who took part in America’s history posted for students to browse.

When reenacting, his characters range from different sides and different wars. But being a soldier is not his only forte; he also enjoys being a traditional western cowboy. He has the horse and the roping skills to prove it.

“I have been in at least half of the major wars,” Coach Blevins said. “[When] North Carolina surrendered in Tennessee and the 150th Anniversary of Gettysburg, I was gone for four days.”

Senior Anna Longmire is one of Coach Blevins’s current students. She has taken both of his courses and has loved every moment.

“He‘s just a really good teacher, and I think he really understands how his teaching helps his students,” Longmire said.

Recently Coach Blevins hired actors to come in and be Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary to talk to the class. He has done these type of events in the past, and the students seem to enjoy it.

“I think it’s really special that he takes the time to show us what it was like then,” Longmire said. “Never in my whole educational experience has a teacher ever had people come in and do that for the class; it’s a really special learning experience.”

Coach Blevins felt honored to be presented with such a thoughtful and special award, but he only had his students to thank for all his success over the years.

“What honors me is when my students pay attention and learn and enjoy what they’re learning,” Coach Blevins said.