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May 7, 2024

Schuckman: History is about ‘looking beyond ourselves’

Why learn about history?

Adam Schuckman, Social Studies chair at Badin High School, has a ready answer.

“It’s an opportunity to look beyond ourselves, even across a perspective of time,” he said. “You’re seeing a wider picture, hearing stories that you can view with empathy and compassion. You look at things that have happened – and you look past yourself in order to find out what the best answer might have been. History offers examples of people who have – and haven’t – done that.”

And Schuckman – who teaches Advanced Placement U.S. History and American Government – loves the stories.

“I like stories – I tell stories about history all the time,” he nodded. “It gives you a glimpse into human nature, because at the end of the day we’re all human. And often you’re looking at the story and can guess what happens next.”

“Badin is a better school because of Adam Schuckman -- we’re so blessed to have him teaching with us,” Badin Principal Patrick Keating said. “On a daily basis, Adam challenges students to think critically about the world and their role in it. He consistently inspires students to become informed and reasoned decision-makers in a democratic society.”

Schuckman, a 1999 Badin High School graduate, has been at Badin fulltime since the summer of 2014. The former varsity football lineman is also on the football coaching staff. He and his wife, the former Melanie Zix ’02, are the parents of three children, ages 13, 11 and 6.

Schuckman, who has undergrad and Masters’ degrees from Miami University, conceded that teaching American Government in 2024 “is weird. You make central points, but those points are less valid in recent years. Politics has invaded spaces that are not supposed to be political. I tell the students what it’s supposed to look like, as opposed to what they’re seeing. I give them a picture of what it’s meant to be. Current events don’t necessarily define what it is.”

“Deliberation is the important piece in our government,” Schuckman added. “If you’re not deliberating, you’re not governing – you’re just giving orders. That’s not what we want in our democracy.”

“Adam is a favorite teacher of many students,” Keating remarked. “His AP US History course is one that really challenges them while also supporting them in becoming critical thinkers and better writers. Perhaps most importantly, Adam is an advocate for all students, supporting them when they need it most and being an inspiration for many.”

He’ll be adding two courses to his load next year – picking up the Current Issues class and adding a new American Story class, which will be a survey course about the Americas, focusing on culture and identity and some of the stories we aren’t necessarily familiar with.

Of the stories we are familiar with, he finds teaching about the Vietnam War era particularly interesting.

“It’s not just the war itself, it’s all the different movements,” Schuckman noted. “Everything was so very supercharged at that time. You get into some very interesting class discussions with the students.”

He adds that World War II is certainly compelling “because of all the drama” and he has a particular interest in the Revolutionary War period, since his family tree connects to Founding Father and 2nd President John Adams as well as his son, President John Quincy Adams.

And it’s the Revolution that informs some of his Government teaching.

“The concept of citizenship and voting is that we have the Right of Revolution,” he notes. “That right is that we can vote anyone out of office. That’s our revolution – you can vote the people out of office that you don’t like anymore.”

“I don’t tell our students how to think,” he underlines, “but I really want them TO think.”

Each August, as the Badin freshman football coach, Schuckman grabs a group of young men and prepares them to be high school football players.

“It’s fun to see them grow from the beginning of the season until the end,” he said. “It’s fun to see their growth from start to finish, and then I hand them over to Coach (Nick) Yordy to see what he can do with them, which has worked out pretty well the last number of years. Then I get to start fresh every year.”

Contact: Dirk Q. Allen, Dallen@BadinHS.org or (513) 869-4490

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