Students take look into the past

Published 5:07 pm Thursday, July 3, 2008

By CATHERINE LEGG / Guest Columnist

Montevallo Middle School student Chase Hamrick said he loved sharing stories with older members of the community during the school’s “Faces and Places Along the Way” enrichment camp.

“I think more young people and adults should cherish our history rather than letting it blow away with the dust,” Hamrick said.

The camp was designed to preserve local oral history and build bridges of respect and appreciation between the younger and the older generations. Students utilized their technology and communication skills as they, under the guidance of teachers Audra Edwards of the middle school and Jennifer Turner of Montevallo High, interviewed seniors at the Montevallo Senior Center, Knowlwood Assisted Living and Parnell Memorial Library.

They talked about the depression era, World War II, the Vietnam Conflict and the civil rights movement. Seniors shared their stories and experiences in response to questions asked by the young people. While some students conducted the interviews, others videotaped them so they could be shared with the local schools and the community.

Involved in the week-long enrichment camp were students Brett Gray, Keelon Bunn, Ian Lee, Josh Weeks, Kirklynn Hamby, Danielle Blake, Faith Frost, Zachary Tutwiler, Jessica Davis, Kenny Oswald and Chase Hamrick.

Tutwiler reported, “I really enjoyed this week because I love working with cameras and learning more about them. I also think that we should learn about history from real people rather than just a textbook.”

Gray commented that he believes it is extremely important for the youth to learn more about local history and the people who lived through some of the greatest and worst times.

Edwards expects the program to continue and to grow.

“The students were so excited after the first day of interviews,” she said. “They couldn’t stop talking about the stories they had heard and the interesting things these people had lived through. I know they have gained a new appreciation for real-life history and the seniors who experienced it.”

The student-created movie will be available to the schools and to the community through Parnell Memorial Library and on the MMS web site.

Catherine Legg can be reached by e-mail at