QECHS students work with local community members to preserve history
Quest Early College High School prides itself on creating authentic learning experiences for their students, so it is no surprise that their HISTORY 1302 students developed a history-based service learning project. This semester 140 students, most of them being sophomores, were tasked with gathering information on Humble locals and prominent areas of Humble. While reaching out to members in the Humble community, students sought out people who might need help with research in Humble area.
Quest faculty members, Dr. Crescida Jacobs, Adjunct Professor of History & Humanities and Marty Willits, Dual Credit Instructor encouraged their history students to email, call, and introduce themselves to community members who would be willing to facilitate their community project. In January, students began consulting with community members, The Humble Museum staff, local and state leaders, and teachers at Lone Star College and at their own campus.
While communicating with members of the Humble community, students discovered areas of the community that had historic needs. They identified Bodersville, a historical community located on Farm to Market Road 1960 in northeast Harris County, as a community they could help. After meeting with key members of Bordersville, attending several neighborhood council meetings, and conducting oral history interviews, students decided they wanted to help acquire historic recognition and protection for the community and two of their older cemeteries.
After receiving permission to conduct the project, students spent many weekends and time over spring break, cleaning brush, debris, and fallen trees from the cemetery grounds. They took time to clean the headstones and markers, level sunken graves, install a fence and a flag pole to honor veterans. Now that Tetter and Pipeyard cemeteries have been cleaned up the students have reached out to the Texas Historical Commission and their State Representatives to ensure that the work they’ve done will be recognized and the cemetery and community will receive the historical recognition it deserves.
“The students enthusiasm for the Bordersville community and for restoring dignity to the people at Tetter Cemetery is astounding to me,” Dr. Jacobs, said. “There is a great deal of work to complete and we have only just begun.”
In addition to preserving the history of the Bordersville community the students helped the first annual Bordersville Easter Egg Hunt in April. The event was an opportunity for the children and families in the neighborhood to come together.
“The students did a wonderful job interviewing myself and other members of the community as well as cleaning up the cemeteries,” A.W. Jones, Bordersville Neighborhood Council chairperson, said. “We are a long ways from finishing but we want to continue this work for our community.”
In an extension of the Humble History project, students conducted a Humble Scavenger Hunt where they received help from Humble Museum staff, Humble City Café employees, and City of Humble representatives to learn more about the history and significance of Humble. The students also did some census work and writing for The Humble Museum and plan on gifting several historical art pieces they have created to the museum. Additionally, the students helped restore Williams and Isaaks Cemeteries.
“We must preserve the history about generations that lived in Humble before us,” Taylor Frick, Quest Early College High School sophomore, said. “Sharing this scavenger hunt with my classmates was important to me because I want to make sure that history doesn’t get lost for generations to come.”
The work completed by the student’s sparked interest from local colleges. University of Houston Center for Public History has offered to transcribe all of the oral history collected by the students and archive them online and Lone Star College has agreed to assist with technology for the Oral History Project. The students are very proud of their work so far and their teachers hope to continue to integrate service learning into their history and government courses to strengthen student ties to the local community.