by Jaye Sudar
GARDNER- In 1993, Huerfano Re-1 started a program to preserve the stories of local Huerfano residents. Voices of the Past was started with the help of Ray Price, the Historical Society, volunteers from the community and the seventh & eighth grade classes of Washington School, Walsenburg Middle School and Gardner School.
For Voices of the Past, students interviewed residents who had lived in the county for at least thirty years and wrote a story about their life. For some this meant talking to a neighbor they′d greeted every morning, but never knew. For others it was a chance to ask Grandpa what happened in WWII. For those students new to the area, it meant making a new acquaintance.
The most amazing stories came to life. Tales were told of running after cattle, of snakes in boxes or of swimming in rivers. These stories were a celebration of our living history and the lives of those around us. In each school, prizes were awarded for the best writing. All of the stories were bound in a book to save them as part of the history of Huerfano County.
Over the years, Gardner has been the only school continuing Voices of the Past interviews. Last Monday night, parents, friends, interviewees and students of Gardner school gathered to hear the stories based on those interviews.
While there are only ten students in the seventh & eighth grades, each story was a gem. Out of those interviews, three were chosen as the best. Third place went to Tyler Meyeres for her interview of Vera Espinoza. Second place went to Ann Rowland for her interview of Ersie Medina. First place went to Liz Moore for her interview of Theodore D. Gomez. Prize money was awarded by the Huerfano Journal, the sponsor for Voices of the Past.
Over the next few weeks, the Journal will be sharing all ten of the interviews. Take a moment and enjoy one of our best local treasures, a slice of history.