A Narrative History of the Montana Heritage Project

End of an Era: 85 Years at Broadwater High School

Darlene Beck

Broadwater High School


“This class is far more advanced and interesting than any other class Iíve taken,” said Callie Kimpton. “In the future, I will look beyond the obvious and wonder about everythingís past.” Callie was one of 14 learners in Darlene Beckís Western Literature class who worked in research teams to compile an 85-year history of Broadwater High School. The old building was destroyed in 2001 to make room for a new school.

“The process was more valuable to them than their product,” said teacher Darlene Beck. “They were caught up in the research. Most were intrigued by the newspapers and the museum archives. The project taught them to ask questions and to find answers to their questions.” Student Sabrina Ravndal confirmed this: “The entire project was fun and extremely educational. I would have to say I enjoyed doing the research the most,"she said, adding “I regret not taking the class last year, and I wish that I could take it again next year.” The research included explorations of statistical records in the superintendentís office, working through the archives of the Townsend Star, the courthouse, the Broadwater County Museum and Historical Society, and studying a collection of high school yearbooks from 1916 to the present.

“With all the digging and research that my group did, I came to the conclusion that any type of historical research is a good thing” observed April Schledewitz. “It expands oneís thoughts into another personís life and times.”

Learners created an exhibit telling the story of the school through time which was set up in the library through April and may. Also, audio and video recordings of the interviews were placed in the local library archives, and an illustrated history of the school in PowerPoint was converted to a video to show at the spring parent/teacher conferences. The findings were organized by decade into a bound book, which was presented to the library archives.

“The Heritage project takes a different approach to learning than any other class I have taken in all my school years,í said student Billy Holland. “It requires a lot of research coupled with good work habits, such as staying on task and organizing information. The class is demanding, but it is fun and interesting.”

To print a final report for the year-end binder, click here.
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© 2002 Montana Heritage Project
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