UMO Students Tour Duplin Historic Sites

UMO Students Tour Duplin Historic Sites

May 10, 2021
Contact:  Rhonda Jessup, Director of Public Relations

MOUNT OLIVE- Members of the University of Mount Olive’s Homegrown Teaching Academy (HGTA) recently visited two historic landmarks in Duplin County. While touring Liberty Hall Museum and The Cowan Museum of History and Science, members learned about the rich history of Duplin County as well as the prominent Kenan Family, whose generosity makes the HGTA possible.

“I was truly fascinated by the rich history that Kenansville brings to its community,” said Adrianna Zepeda. “Learning how the Kenan family rose through turbulent times into prosperity is an accomplishment to be revered.”

Ashlynn Hardison agreed, “I have driven past the Cowan Museum and Liberty Hall each and every day of my life.  However, I never knew the historical stories that lived within the two buildings. This trip was truly enlightening. It will be my honor to incorporate the history of our town in future lessons with my own students.”

The HGTA is an innovative and collaborative program involving Duplin County Schools, James Sprunt Community College, and the University of Mount Olive.  Funded by grants from the William R. Kenan Charitable Trust and other generous contributors, the Academy is designed to identify and recruit students as early as middle school within the Duplin County School system who would be interested in becoming teachers. The Academy provides opportunities for students to shadow teachers when they are in high school, obtain college credits while still in high school through James Sprunt Community College, and complete their teacher education degree at the University of Mount Olive.  Students receive funding to offset the cost of college, thereby minimizing the amount of student debt incurred.  In return, Academy graduates commit to work in Duplin County Schools.

Applications are currently being accepted for the 2021-2022 UMO Homegrown Teacher Academy with scholarship amounts ranging from $3,000 to $6,000 per year.  “There are other scholarship opportunities available for Duplin County students as well that make earning a degree in education from UMO both affordable and attainable,” she said.

For more information about the University of Mount Olive Homegrown Teacher Academy contact Herring at

The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University is sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists.  For more information, visit


Pictured bottom row (L-R): Esmeralda Lopez-Perez and Adrianna Zepeda. Middle row: Lindsay Underhill, Breanna Hinnant, Melissa Smith, and Ashlynn Hardison. Top row: Andrew Cruse and Noah Haney.