Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

April 24, 2013

Lasting legacy

Students compile history of Frostburg

The Mountain Ridge High School students who are producing a full-length documentary about the history of Frostburg are learning information they would never find in books alone.

The documentary, being filmed in connection with the city’s 200th anniversary, is entitled “200 Years of Mountain City Memories.”

Local history projects are a great way to enhance learning about our region’s heritage. Allegany High School students, with the guidance of Brian White and Dan Whetzel, produced several exceptional local history books on topics such as The Lonaconing Silk Mill, Reflections of the Silver Screen, Surviving the Great Depression: A History of Allegany County During the 1930’s, Allegany County Veterans of World War II, Work & Salt, Primetime, Welcome Home: An Oral History of the Vietnam War, Allegany: Portrait of an American High School, and Echoes of an Era: A History of Industry in Allegany County.

Most recently, students from Allegany and Fort Hill High School’s oral history courses collaborated to produce a book entitled Hidden Stories, Discovered Voices: A History of African Americans in Cumberland, Maryland.

Mountain Ridge’s project is headed up by teacher Matthew Ravenscroft in a project-based elective course called Historical Research Methods.

Work on the documentary began in 2012 and utilizes oral histories from around 30 individuals with an expertise in the community’s past.

Some of those interviewed for the film were Betty Van Newkirk, Garry Ritchie, Frostburg Mayor Robert Flanagan, Lonnie Nixon, David Dean, Al Feldstein and Elizabeth Eshleman.

By going out into the Frostburg community and doing firsthand interviews with those who know the history of the community, students have been able to find a treasure-trove of local information.

“They’re getting to create something that will last forever,” Ravenscroft said of the students’ work.

The public premiere of the documentary is May 10 at Mountain Ridge. The film starts at 7 p.m. Admission is $5.

DVDs of the documentary can be purchased at the premiere for $10. They will also be available at Main Street Books for $15. All proceeds from the documentary go back to the school to fund future projects. More details can be obtained by calling the school at 301-689-3377.

We’re excited about the Frostburg project. We’re also pleased to know that more student-produced local history efforts will be undertaken at Mountain Ridge in the years to come.

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