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Danette Dooley
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Student's social studies project leads to broader community impact

A Grade 5 student's interest in local history could turn into a money-maker for his school.

And it all started with a social studies assignment.

When 11-year-old Zachary Marshall, who attends St. George's Elementary in Conception Bay South, had to interview a senior citizen for his project, he thought of Betty (Dawe) Carter, who grew up in Long Pond.

"I was first going to interview my great Aunt Donna, but she didn't have a really good memory so then I thought about Aunt Betty - well, that's what I call her," Zachary says.

Zachary Marshall, 11, learned about this historic photo while working on a social studies project in his Grade 5 class at St. George's Elementary, in C.B.S. - Photo by Danette Dooley/Special to The Telegram

A Grade 5 student's interest in local history could turn into a money-maker for his school.

And it all started with a social studies assignment.

When 11-year-old Zachary Marshall, who attends St. George's Elementary in Conception Bay South, had to interview a senior citizen for his project, he thought of Betty (Dawe) Carter, who grew up in Long Pond.

"I was first going to interview my great Aunt Donna, but she didn't have a really good memory so then I thought about Aunt Betty - well, that's what I call her," Zachary says.

"She's a very close family friend and she's been there through the hard times and the good times."

During the interview, she showed Zachary an old black and white group photo of about 70 men, women and children.

It was taken in 1904 in front of an old building that looked like a church or a school.

Zachary soon learned that the building - complete with peaked windows and flower pots lining the sills - was the original Long Pond elementary school, on the same site where St. George's Elementary is today on the Conception Bay Highway.

Zachary was allowed to borrow the photo to show his teacher, Barbara Moores.

"When I brought it in, she went with it around to everyone and I never saw it all that day, but it's been in our school ever since," he says.

Moores was surprised and delighted to see the piece of history.

"Everyone it in is dressed really nice; most of the women are wearing boater hats and the boys are dressed in suits and ties," she says.

The photograph wasn't a surprise to everyone, however. Percy Greenslade of Long Pond first saw it about 30 years ago.

In an effort to identify the people in the picture, Greenslade had the image enlarged and brought it to Selena Porter. He now knows who everyone is but one person.

"At the time, this woman who we called Aunt Lene was partially blind, and I went through everything to try to get her to see the people. We got her special glasses. She liked folklore and knew all the older people of that generation."

Porter was born in 1898 and is in the photo as a six-year-old.

She died more than 20 years ago.

Greenslade says the photo reflects how involved the entire community was in children's lives. He says the event captured in the photo was likely a picnic celebration at the closing of the school year.

St. George's Elementary is printing copies of the photo and selling them for a nominal fee.

"Whatever money we make, our class is going to give back to the school to help us with the playground that we want to make," Moores explained..

To purchase a copy of the photo, call the school at 834-2069.

danette@nl.rogers.com

Geographic location: St. George's, Long Pond, Conception Bay South

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