Published Online: May 14, 2003
Published in Print: May 14, 2003, as Take Note

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History Lesson

Few people know more about the town of Marysville, Mich., than Kevin Miller's communication arts students.

The 40 students, mostly juniors and seniors at the 900-student Marysville High School, are creating a documentary on the town, located on the St. Clair River northeast of Detroit, starting from its early days as a logging community and chronicling its later automobile and ship-building industries.

The hourlong video will be shown in classrooms and to tourists and civic groups. It will include interviews with longtime residents of the town of 9,300 and footage of historical buildings and other notable locations. The Marysville Historical Museum, built in 1912, will be featured, with its fully restored 1924 Wills Sainte Claire automobile and its 1/3-scale model of a 1931 Buhl "Bull Pup" airplane.

Production of the documentary, including taping, writing, and editing, will all be done by students, Mr. Miller said. So far, they have interviewed 17 people, ranging in age from 65 to almost 100. The students hope to complete the video by mid-June. Their teacher intends to send it to the History Channel.

"It's been a great learning tool for the students," Mr. Miller said. "They're learning more about their town. Any time you bring other generations in, you bridge that gap."

Dylan MacLean, a 17-year-old senior, said his work on the video has helped prepare him for a job as a producer or director in the television industry.

Mr. MacLean said he had no idea what he wanted to do after graduation before taking Mr. Miller's class. But after participating in the project, as well as shooting footage of the school's basketball season, he knows he wants to work in TV.

"It's given me a real good grasp on the whole industry," the student said. "I've kind of got a head start on a lot of other people I know."

When Mr. MacLean and his classmates saw a shorter documentary someone had made about Marysville years ago, they realized that a large part of the town's history had never been told.

The students aim to make a more interesting and informative video that Mr. MacLean said he hopes will be enticing to all Marysville residents.

"It was very dull, but we hope to change that," he said of the previous effort. "I have a feeling we'll do a real good job with it."

—Hattie Brown

Vol. 22, Issue 36, Page 3

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