Students at Westport Central School helped edit videos that will be running at the Heritage House that feature Irwin Barber, Phil Knowles (third from right) and Evelyn Brant (second from right) sharing their experiences of Westport.
Visitors to the Heritage House in Westport will get the opportunity to hear about the town’s past from those who lived through it, thanks to the help of some Westport Central School students.
During its open house June 19, the Heritage House debuted three movies that will show in the lobby of the building. The videos show residents Evelyn Brant, Phil Knowles and Irwin Barber talking about life in the Westport area over the years.
The videos were taped, edited and prepared by students working with teacher Paul Mudie. Interviews were collected by Colin Wells.
“Nancy (Decker) approached me about working on something like this so they could have a digital library of history here at the Heritage House,” Mudie said. “The timing with this class was just right because you could have not asked for a better group of students. The kids were the perfect match for the project, using their talents and working hard to complete these.”
“They did a fantastic job,” Decker said. “I have wanted to get this project done for the past four years, and this is the ideal way that I wanted it to happen. We now have a piece of life in Westport to share with those who come here.”
Students involved in the project included sophomores Sabrina Hendry, William Daha and Keragan Viens along with juniors Jordan Spadafora and Emily Rascoe.
“It was a lot of hours to put everything together,” Hendry said. “I was pleased when we saw the finished project. It was kind of a relief because we had worked really hard.”
“It was a good experience,” Daha said. “I learned a lot about Westport and a lot about Evelyn through editing her video.”
“It was really cool to hear the stories and learn about Westport in that way,” Spadafora said.
“I personally got to hear a lot about my family history in the town,” Viens said.
“It was really fun and a lot of hard work to complete the project,” Rascoe said. “It helped me learn more about Westport’s history.”
“I learned a lot about the town, too,” said Mudie. “I think that the stories that were collected were great. It’s a great project because if we do not record stories from people like this, then they are going to get lost.”
Brant and Knowles attended the event and got a first look at their starring roles on the screens at the Heritage House.
“I hope that it is something people can enjoy,” Brant said. “I was talking with a couple of people, and I looked up real quick and there I was on the screen.”
“It is an honor to be a part of this,” Knowles said. “My family goes back several generations in the town. My grandfather came back from the Civil War with one arm and built mills all over the area. To me, he is a hero.”
The videos will be on display in the Heritage House during normal hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, and 1 to 3 p.m. Sundays. For more, visit the website, westportheritagehouse.com.