Last night I attended a presentation of the re-release of a book that students from my high school produced in the 1975- 1976 school year. Their US History teacher was looking to do something for the Bicentennial and had thought for years of having her students write a book about local history. She asked the students on the first day of school whether or not they were interested in the project. Many of the students thought this would be a small 100 page informational pamphlet that wouldn’t take much time. The teacher explained to them that this was something that would be done mostly outside of the classroom as they still had to complete their normal US History studies. The students agreed and were assigned various chapters in groups ranging from one to six depending on the topic. The book turned out to be a large project that students researched by looking through old newspapers and interviewing old-timers in the community.
One of greatest things that came out last night was that this teacher had empowered her students and made them feel special. They believed that they were handpicked by the teacher and that they were expected to have the ability to do something that they may not have felt they had the ability to do in the first place. Another plus to the book is that the people interviewed for the book have almost entirely passed away now and the book is a record of their stories.
The students of the Class of 77 have kept in touch all these years and consider themselves family. They call their teacher their adopted mom. It was really wonderful to see such a great group and such a fine presentation. The local museum has reprinted the book and produced a video about the making of the book. If you’re interested in reading Ferndale history you can get your copy from the Ferndale Museum.