ATHENS, Ga. -- Meghan McNeeley grew up listening to stories about D-Day from her grandfather, a World War II veteran.
"I was doing a report on D-Day, and he saw me with the encyclopedia," McNeeley saidof her grandfather. "He takes the encyclopedia and starts telling me about D-Day to me like it was a story."
Despite her love of history as a child, McNeeley went to college and majored in math. After college, she became an English teacher at Clarke Middle School in Athens.
Then, in 2006, her love of history led to her applying and receiving a fellowship to theUnited States HolocaustMemorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
She and three other teachers developed a curriculum called "Road to Auschwitz" which is now taught to eighth graders throughout the Southeast.
"History fascinated (McNeeley), and she realized from an early age that she could combine her love for history with her zeal to teach English. Through this methodology, she could make an indelible impression on the children she taught," said Elyse Hammett, Executive Vice President of Public Relations for EOS Marketing and Communications, Inc. Hammett nominated McNeeley for 11Alive's Class Act Award.
McNeeley starts the school year teaching "The Diary of Anne Frank." It's not only required reading for all 8th graders in Clarke County Schools, it'sat the core of everything Meghan McNeeley teaches.
She connects all the history to what kids deal with today.
"Last week was all about bullying, and I stopped and I said, 'Nazi's were bullies and the KKK are bullies and outside in the hallways, when you're picking on your friends are bullies,'" McNeeley said.