Past meets present

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Ponder Elementary School students learned the battle formation of Civil War soldiers from members of the 15th Texas Cavalry re-enactors group during Living History Day at Ponder High School on Friday.
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Living History Day gives Ponder students glimpse of 1880s and other time periods

PONDER — History came to lifeFriday for students in Ponder.

Students learned aboutdutch-oven cooking, the work of a 19th century farm wife, Buffalo Soldiers,mountain men, cattle rides and how ancestors may have hunted and gathered theirfood during a special Living History Day at Ponder High School.

The event includedre-enactments of characters from the 1880s and other time periods in history,with special displays on spooling wool, Civil War weapons, equipment andclothing, and a World War II vehicle from 1941 that was used in North Africaand Italy.

Kevin Pitman, who teachesU.S. history and is a football and power lifting coach at Ponder High, said hebrought the Living History Day idea to the high school because he thought itwould benefit students. He has also participated since the early 1980s inre-enactments as a hobby, and on Friday, he brought along his two sons to helpshow how mountain men lived from 1825 to 1840.

“I think sometimes we forgetwhere we came from, and this kind of drives this,” Pitman said. “It’s a greatway to learn.”

He said he hopes the specialevent will help students see that history is neither dead nor boring butimportant.

“I think because of theInternet and textbooks, instant notifications — I think we lose touch with howhard it used to be and where we came from,” he said.

One day, Pitman said he hopesto create an event that other school districts can come and participate in aswell.

Junior Elizabeth Branin saidshe found Living History Day interesting.

“It’s not usually somethingwe see,” she said. “It’s cool to get out of class and actually see somethingauthentic. It’s valuable to what we learn in class.”

Ninth-grader Colton Cassadysaid the event taught students history and how people lived in the past.

“I think it’s really nice,”he said. “It’s cool.”

Ponder High Principal ShawnSimmons said Living History Day provided an opportunity for taking learning tothe next level because students were seeing things in person. It goes beyondwhat students would read in a textbook or see in a video, he said.

“Learning comes fromexperiences, and activities like this brings it to life for the kids,” Simmonssaid. “I think it’s something they’ll remember.”

BRITNEY TABOR can bereached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.


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