PONTIAC — As the son of the founder of the Livingston County War Museum, David Estes knows his father, Dal, would have been proud of the efforts of a group of students in the Illinois Studies class at Pontiac Township High School.
“Dad loved any type of interaction between students and veterans,” Estes said. “He was always looking to teach about life in the military and was always encouraged when students reached out for more information.”
On Wednesday, the students presented their finished cellphone audio tour project involving the museum in Pontiac. Two other Illinois Studies classes are scheduled for presentations Thursday.
“The motto for Pontiac Township High School is ‘Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve,’” said history teacher Eric Sweetwood. “I can’t think of a better way to prove that then to complete a project for the museum.”
Students in Sweetwood’s classes researched historical artifacts displayed at the museum and then wrote scripts. The recorded scripts will be played for visitors using cellphones while touring the museum, but exactly how that will be done hasn’t been worked out yet.
Museum officials aren’t sure when the audio tours will be available to the public.
On the initial visit to the museum, freshman Katie Dixon discovered the uniforms of three great-uncles on display.
“I knew a little bit about the history, but it was really interesting to do more research,” she said. “It was interesting to see what medals they received and to learn that only my Uncle Peter survived the war.”
“I gained a deeper appreciation of veterans and learned more about what they went through,” freshman Kristen Eggenberger said.
Estes said this is the first step in the project, but was very impressed and hopes future classes also will be able to take part. A handful of veterans were on hand to welcome the class to the museum.
“We have the best students,” Sweetwood said. “These young people are incredible and dedicated to these veterans and the community.”