ConVal Regional High School junior Brigham Boice of Peterborough was presented with the Daughters of the American Revolution Mary Desha Medal for Youth at the New Hampshire DAR Fall Meeting this past Friday.
The Mary Desha Medal for Youth honors a Youth for outstanding service to the community, state, or nation, through participation and/or leadership in such activities as conservation, organized sports, scouting, church or community, and state or national service organizations. This individual will have exceeded expectations for the nominee’s age.
Brigham’s commitment to preserving Peterborough’s history began with a fourth-grade project on the history of the railroad in Peterborough. He became interested in the history of the town and chose to present his project through a series of photos showing the differences from when the railroad came to town until the current day.
The following year, Brigham began to recreate old photos of historic Peterborough in ink or pencil. His art instructor, Mona Brooks, shares “He is multifaceted in his interests and this has been demonstrated in-depth in his artwork since he was eleven years of age … let me stress that his ability and desire to share his concentrated interest in history is refreshing, to say the least. He is a beacon for his younger brothers, he peers, yes, but for all those around him. He is engaging and willing to dive into the work that he is doing… I declare my belief that the future is positively enhanced because of this young man.”
Brigham’s work was noticed by a volunteer at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture, who invited him to work as a colonial interpreter. Michelle Stahl, Executive Director, states, “Brigham has adopted the role of Augustus Prescott… he has brought this role to life through his self-initiated research into the town’s history at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution… I have been enormously impressed with Brigham’s dedication to the programs and his ability to share his knowledge in a friendly and accessible way with our museum guests. His work ethic and his communication skills are comparable to a seasoned professional and are so appreciated when found in a youth volunteer!”
Brigham’s AP World History teacher, Chris Heider, agrees. “Not many teenagers I know would give up their free time to demonstrate colonial cooking for people… his love of history is evident in class through is curiosity and level of interest. When Brigham contributes to the class discussion the class listens. He is an honest and hardworking student that wants to do his best, not for the grade, but to just learn.”
All of this love of history, combined with his computer skills, has culminated in an amazing product. A self-taught computer programmer, Brigham took his love of history into the digital age, creating Newpast: Peterborough 1886. This interactive game allows the user to explore Peterborough as it was in 1886 as compared to how it is now. Brigham’s product is currently being beta tested with elementary school children and the Monadnock Center for History and Culture. Brigham’s work has been incorporated into an LLC with the goal of recreating other small towns in a similar format or create historic battles so that students could feel as though they were taking part. His next projects include the Town of Hancock, the Battle of Lexington and Concord, and the Boston Massacre.
Brigham’s nomination was co-sponsored by the Mary Varnum Platts – Peterborough Chapter in Rindge and the Reprisal Chapter in Newport.
Pictured below are Kim Varney Chandler, Reprisal Chapter Regent; Laura McCrillis Kessler, Historian General NSDAR; Brigham Boice; Ruthanne Boice, Brigham’s mother; Donnie Boice, Brigham’s father; and Trish Jackson, State Regent, New Hampshire DAR.