Students Immersed In Local History

History experts abound in every classroom at Seneca School. In order to complete a timeline mural of Bear Valley, students delved deeper into local history.

“Mr. Hines got the contract for the Bear Valley timber sale in 1928 because Mr. Herrick lost the contract because he didn’t have the railroad done on time, even after lots of chances,” explained a second grader during her class with the artist-in-residence.” A fourth grader pointed out that an important event needed to be included in the timeline, “Mt. Mazama erupted and covered Bear Valley with ash. That made some of the big game disappear because the climate got cooler and drier.”

The Seneca School History Project is in its third year. It began in January 2002 with research that led to the creation of the Hines Lumber Co. mural under the direction of artist-in-residence Carol Poppenga. Carol returned this year on March 28 for another two-week residency. This year she helped students create an artistic timeline of Bear Valley’s history, a work of art that runs the 64 foot length of the downstairs hallway.

The students researched important dates and events to prepare for Carol’s residency. The third and fourth grade class investigated Bear Valley’s prehistory from 250 million years ago to the arrival of the trappers and settlers, including the Paiute Indians in the valley. The junior high class researched the era of the trappers and the early ranchers, as well as the development of the first schools in the valley. The K-2 class focused its efforts on the Edward Hines Lumber Co., which brought the town of Seneca into being. The fifth and sixth grade class covered the period of time from when Hines Lumber Co. shut down to the present day.

The finished product is on permanent display in the hallway. An artists’ reception and celebration of the project was held on April 13.