Led by Western Michigan University history M.A. 2013 graduate, John Beck, the Heritage Christian History Club was designated a National History Club Chapter of the Year on May 2, 2016. The club was one of ten chapters selected from over 500 nationwide for this honor.
The Heritage Christian History Club was chartered on Sept. 28, 2007, and was the fifth history club chartered in Michigan. Since starting with six students in its first year, the club has grown to an average of 25-30 students. Students meet twice per month over lunch to discuss historical topics. At each meeting, a student who volunteers to bring dessert also provides a cultural history of that dessert. Each year, the club goes on two history-related field trips and each member is required to participate in the district National History Day competition, now hosted by the WMU Department of History. Seniors who have participated in the club for more than two years and have achieved a 3.5 GPA receive a National History Club graduation tassel.
In addition, the club now sponsors a speaker series. This year’s first speaker was Mike Grobbel, a board member of Michigan’s Military and Space Museum. Grobbel’s talk was on the so-called Polar Bear Expedition that occurred at the end of World War I. This is the popular name of the American Expeditionary Force in North Russia. This contingent of about 5,000 United States Army troops landed in Arkhangelsk, Russia, as part of the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War and fought the Red Army in the surrounding region from September 1918 to July 1919.