published Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Rhea County senior Kevin Reed wins Tennessee history contest, capitol visit

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    Rhea County High School senior Kevin Reed, this year's Tennessee history contest winner, holds his buzzer and prepares to answer a question from contest coordinator Becky Spivey on Friday at the school. He and fellow finalist Amber "Brin" Patterson competed in the "Jeopardy-style" contest for a two-day trip to the state's capitol in Nashville. Photo by Kimberly McMillian
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EVENSVILLE, Tenn. -- Rhea County High School senior Kevin Reed achieved a stepping stone toward his future political aspirations Friday when he won the Tennessee History contest.

Reed said politics has a special appeal for him and he has had "a lifelong interest" in it.

State Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, sponsored the "Jeopardy-style" contest, held Friday night in the school's auditorium, complete with red buzzers. The 100-question competition focused on information from the Tennessee Blue Book, a publication listing the state's elected representatives, laws and other political information.

The finalists answered questions on topics ranging from the state tree and the Scopes trial to Cobb himself.

Reed and fellow finalist Amber "Brin" Patterson, a Rhea County High sophomore, competed for a two-day trip to Nashville with hotel accommodations, Cobb said. Reed will attend various legislative committee and House of Representatives meetings, where he'll observe the progress of bills, the lawmaker said.

Patterson placed second in the contest and won a $100 gift card to Books-A-Million. She also received $50 from the Rhea-Dayton Education Association and a $25 gift card from MainStreet Dayton.

Becky Spivey, who coordinated the event -- the county's first Tennessee history contest -- said she wanted those who participated to gain a better understanding of their state's history.

"I think it's important to keep it in the forefront," she said.

Spivey said she remembers when history was given more prominence in schools rather than often being an elective course.

Cobb said he hopes students learn more about Tennessee's history and gain a better understanding of how "politics integrates all aspects of their lives."

Kimberly McMillian is based in Rhea County. Contact her at

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