SHS teacher's love of history goes beyond the classroom

SHS teacher's love of history goes beyond the classroom
Posted on 05/26/2017

During the week, Alex Bell teaches history in his classroom. On the weekends, he relives history in the field as a Civil War re-enactor.


“It really gives you a sense of what these guys went through,” said Bell, a teacher at Scottsburg High School.


Bell’s love of history, government, and world geography began when his father and grandfather shared their passion for those subjects with him as a child.


“My dad and grandpa are history buffs. It kind of got passed down,” Bell said.


Bell’s grandfather is active in politics, aligning himself with the Tea Party movement. His father enjoys World War II history; Bell’s great-grandfather served in World War II. His grandfather served in Vietnam. Through all of their influence in Bell’s life, Bell found a niche of his own: Civil War and military history.


“I really like firearms,” Bell said. “I love the military history side of it.”


But, it was not until his friend in college, who was from Scottsburg, introduced him to the world of Civil War re-enacting that Bell felt history come to live in a very personal way. He wore the Union uniform, handled the reproduction rifle, slept on the ground, and forged friendships with a group of men, women, and families who loved history as much as he did.


“Marching together for months builds connections and bonds,” Bell said. “My unit happens to be pretty family friendly.”


Now in his fourth year as a Civil War re-enactor, Bell recently traveled to one of the Civil War’s bloodiest battlegrounds, Shiloh, Tenn. At the Battle of Shiloh, more than 23,000 soldiers died in those two days in early April 1862. During the Civil War, Bell said, the soldiers would march 20 miles per day while campaigning. While Bell was in Tennessee this year, he was able to participate in the re-enactment activities and slept on the grounds where Civil War soldiers laid 155 years ago.


“Not many want to do Union in the South,” said Bell, who is with the 11th Indiana.


When Bell is not on the battlefield or in the classroom, he is on the football field with the Scottsburg Warriors. This is his second season as the offensive line coach. 


“It is a lot of time commitment, but you get to bond with the kids. My coach made a big impact on me. It’s my way of giving back,” said Bell, who played on the offensive line while in high school.


Through it all, Bell’s passion is history. He is an avid reader and encourages his students to read.


“I could ramble on for days about history,” Bell said. “I am always reading.”


At Scott County School District 2, Bell’s story is our story. Your story matters. You matter.