11/13/2012 11:40:00 AM History comes alive for Williams High School students Student work focusing on Civilian Conservation Corps currently on display at Williams Public Library
Williams High School history students display part of a project on the Civilian Conservation Corps. Front row from left: Stephanie Clark, Karrina Rotter, Cheyenne Lienhard, Christian Campos, Carlos Amavizca and Ivonne Aguilar. Back row from left: Ethan Reinarz Jacob Coppers, Adrian Solano, J.D. Schulte, Steve Ortiz, Oscar Nunez. Submitted photo
For Heather Walker's students at Williams High School, history doesn't just live in textbooks, but right here in their own city.
Last spring, three periods of Walker's U.S. history classes compiled research to create a three-panel museum exhibit about the Civilian Conservation Corps that is now on display at Williams Public Library.
Walker had been discussing the Great Depression and Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal programs in class. One of those programs, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), put young men to work across the country doing work such as planting trees, digging ditches and making paths.
Walker knew the CCC had some impact on Williams, and decided to investigate further with her students.
With help from Neil Weintraub, an archaeologist with Kaibab National Forest, the students conducted research about the CCC's role in Williams.
"With history, you can sit there and have it go in one ear and out the other...or you can do a project that you can remember for the rest of your life," Walker said, adding that the project reinforced important skills such as reading, writing and critical thinking.
Two enthusiastic students used their research to track down remnants of a dam south of town that the CCC worked on.
"As a teacher those are the moments I do my job for," Walker said.
The project took a few weeks for about 60 juniors to complete. It was displayed at the Williams District Ranger Station during the summer before coming to the library.
Because of this project, Walker says students now "have a better awareness of what makes a town and how rich the history is here in Williams."