The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum today announced it will sponsor a student mock press conference on Friday, February 26, at 2:00 p.m. in the school forum at Beverley Manor Middle School.  Judd Bankert, portraying President Woodrow Wilson, will take questions from 21 Beverley Manor seventh-graders acting as reporters.  Seventh-grader Cole Leonard, portraying Joseph P. Tumulty, Wilson’s secretary, will assist the President at the event, and the entire seventh-grade will attend.  The school is located at 58 Cedar Green Road in Augusta County just west of the City of Staunton.  The phone number at the school is (540) 886-5806.   

The mock press conference is particularly appropriate because President Wilson was the first President to hold regular press conferences.  The program marks the conclusion of the seventh-graders’ study of the World War I era.  Teachers Scarlett Kiser, John Sayers and Cynthia Bolin teach the unit, designed the program, and selected the student reporters.  The students did additional research to compose their questions, and each of the 21 reporters will have the opportunity to ask a question of President Wilson.  

Don W. Wilson, President and CEO of the WWPL, said, “The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum is pleased to sponsor this living history event, a novel way to teach about this important time in our nation’s past.  We commend these teachers for designing such an innovative program and the students for their enthusiastic participation.”   

This program is a part of the WWPL’s educational outreach program.  The Presidential Library regularly hosts area students for interactive programs that meet Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) requirements.  In the “Journey Into History” program and the “Professor, President, Peacemaker” program, students engage in a guided tour of Woodrow Wilson's birthplace and group activities in the Woodrow Wilson Museum and the Presidential Library’s classroom and education parlor.  The WWPL also hosts two “Journey Into History” camps, three-day interactive history camps with a different theme each summer.

For more information about the Press Conference or any of the Presidential Library’s school programming, contact Ellen Abernethy, Museum Educator, at, or at (540) 885-0897, ext. 110, or visit the website at

did you know?

Wilson was president throughout World War I. He sought a neutral position for the United States and even won reelection with the slogan “He kept us out of war.” Nonetheless, actions by the Central Powers (notably Germany) threatened this neutrality. Following years of attacks on American shipping and citizens on the high seas, particularly the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, public opinion began to turn. The final straw came with the release of the Zimmerman Telegram, forcing the United States to declare war on the Central Powers in April of 1917, joining the war on the side of the UK, Russia, and France.

Woodrow Wilson was President when the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920 giving women the right to vote.

Wilson piloted the ship that brought America onto the world stage. He made the first steps of leading us out of isolationism, violating Washington's tenet of avoiding foreign entanglements.

He led America during World War I. His fervent hope was for the US to join a League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations.

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "Life does not consist in thinking, it consists in acting."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "The Constitution was not made to fit us like a straitjacket. In its elasticity lies its chief greatness."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "I believe in democracy because it releases the energies of every human being."

The Seventeenth Amendment was formally adopted on May 31, 1913. Wilson had been president for almost three months at the time. The amendment provided for the direct election of senators. Prior to its adoption, Senators were chosen by state legislatures.

Wilson was the first president to receive a PhD which he got in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University. He had received his undergraduate degree from the College of New Jersey, renamed Princeton University in 1896.

Woodrow Wilson could not read during the first decade of his life. Though undiagnosed, he may have suffered from a learning disability

Woodrow Wilson was known as "Tommy" until his college years.

Woodrow Wilson during his boyhood, helped establish the "Lightfoot Baseball Club" with his friends. Wilson played second base and was an avid sport fan throughout his adult life.

Woodrow Wilson was the first president to attend the Major League Baseball Fall Classic. He saw the debut of a young 20 year old pitcher by the name of George Herman "Babe" Ruth.

Woodrow Wilson was a graduate of Princeton University and Johns Hopkins University and the only president to hold an earned doctoral degree.

Woodrow Wilson image is on the $100,000 bill although it is no longer in circulation