Picture of Breanna Williams sitting at a table with Hunter Consley and Betsy Tweedy, working on a computer.

Trimble County senior Breanna Williams, center, won a state award for a digital travel map that helps preserve her rural county’s history. Williams teaches librarians and historians Hunter Consley (left) and Betsy Tweedy how to use the map so that they can add to it in the future.
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A Trimble County senior has won a state award for a digital travel map that helps preserve her rural county’s history.

Breanna Williams said there is a large percentage of the county’s population that is older, and they have history they want to share. She said she wanted to give them an opportunity to do so.

“No one wants their generation of history to be forgotten,” Williams said.

Her Trimble County Travel Map won best project in the grade 9-12 division at the Student Leadership Technology Program (STLP) championship in April at Rupp Arena in Lexington.

STLP is a statewide program that offers opportunities for students to participate in project-based learning, using technology to help solve issues in their communities.

Williams tackled the lack of digital historical resources in her county. Her first task was to collect information on the county’s historical locations. She said this part wasn’t hard because the residents of the Trimble County community are well-connected and were eager to share what they knew.

She said residents contributed by sharing pictures from the past, and some even asked to show her where old buildings used to be before they were torn down.

“It wasn’t difficult to have people reaching out to me and sharing the history with me that I didn’t ever get to learn about,” Williams said.

She also corresponded with Hunter Consley, an historian at the Trimble County Public Library, along with John Ogburn, the county judge executive, and local historians Karen Long and Hilda Parish.

Her next task was to find a digital platform to add all the historical pieces. This part was harder, as she knew she wanted to do a map of some kind but couldn’t decide on which type.

Melissa Burkhardt, a teacher at Trimble County Junior/Senior High School who supervises the STLP program, suggesting using Google Earth to create a Google Map of Trimble County, then personalize it with the information she had found.

“The beauty of the digital map she chose is that it, like all Google products, can be shared among all of the historians to be maintained and updated as needed by all who have access to edit it,” Burkhardt said.

Burkhardt said “a big chunk” of their STLP project is to collaborate with professionals.

The map allows people to take a virtual tour of the historical locations in Trimble County and encourages them to hit the road to visit those sites in person.

Once Williams developed the map, she created a QR code that links the map and posted it in locations throughout Trimble County. She even got to put her creation in the historical section of the library.

“It’s all about history here in Trimble County,” she said.

Williams’ win was Trimble County Junior/Senior High School’s third in the state STLP competition. Before the competition, she was optimistic about continuing the school’s legacy.

“I wouldn’t say it was a pressure, so much as it drove me to want it [the win] more,” she said.

After graduation, Williams plans on going into the medical field as a nurse, but she wants to take her experience in technology from STLP and apply it to her new career. She plans to create STLP-like projects to aid the medical field.