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Making History
Hoisington students collaborate on oral history project
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Students from Hoisington High Schools video production, history, and English classes collaborate on a community suggested project of oral history preservation. Harold Thorne, Hoisington, shares memories of Hoisingtons past as prompted by interviewer Chris Ball. Video and audio production students Jakob Breit and Aaron Crawford work cameras and lighting, while Dylan Yott and A.J. Moshier (not pictured) transcribe the interview for a written narrative. - photo by VERONICA COONS, Great Bend Tribune

HOISINGTON — When Hoisington Historical Society President Lon Palmer and recently retired Hoisington Public Library Director Chris Rippel proposed an oral history project to teachers at Hoisington High School, Language Arts teacher Carrie Feist wasn’t the only one to jump on the opportunity.
“I wanted in on the project, and so did Ashley Schultz, the history teacher, and Addie Billinger, the video production teacher did too,” she said.
All three recognized the value of the project to provide students an opportunity to translate what they learn in the classroom to the real world.
On a Wednesday afternoon in April, teams made up of students from all three disciplines came to the Hoisington Public Library to interview eight long-time Hoisington residents about their memories growing up and living in Hoisington.

Each team was assigned a different interview, and had 45 minutes to conduct it. They set up in the community room at the Hoisington Public Library. The teams are coming and going throughout the day.
“That’s a lot of moving parts,” Feist said. “I really appreciate the cooperation from our staff. They’re not necessarily just missing the class they have with me.”
Students made arrangements with their teachers to make up work missed. Keeping on schedule and getting to the library was completely their responsibility. While Feist admitted it made her nervous, the students were conscientious and followed through.

Students from Schultz’s American History class researched and compiled questions which Feist’s English Comp 4 students used in the interviews. Billinger’s Video Production 1 and 2 students filmed and taped the interviews, and when all eight were complete, the next step would be editing and compiling them into a documentary, complete with a “B roll, Feist said.
English Comp 4 students shared duties, with one selected as a lead interviewer, and two to three as note takers. It’s a journalism skill that isn’t widely taught, she said. Students will break the story into sections, and each will focus on their part, with some time devoted to matching styles so the piece flows. This will be the students final writing project, Feist said.
She’s hopeful this first-year project will become an ongoing annual project, and eventually those narratives will be rolled into a book-length publication.
The finale will be when the classes present their work to the community, she said.
“I’m happy that it is something that others will see -- not just me,” she said. “Some of my kids are excited about it and others are not. Someone else will get to ‘grade’ it other than me.”
The details for the premier of the project are still yet to be determined. Feist said two ideas are being floated now; either a premier night at the library, or at a Chamber of Commerce event. Then, the project will become part of the permanent collection at the library.

Students visited the Hoisington Historical Society in advance of producing their final projects. For many of them, and for Feist, it was a first time experience. Feist’s students will compose creative writing pieces where they tell the life story about and from the point of view of a chosen historical artifact.
“It was nice for them to see the exhibits and hear from the members,” she said. “A lot of the students didn’t realize what used to be here.”