LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Curriculum requirements for Texas third graders includes a section on local history. Before now, teachers had to find their own information to teach students.
The Angelina County Historical Commission stepped in and created a new tool for Lufkin I.S.D. third grade teachers - Lufkin: Where Tall Pines Tickle the Toes of Angels - a coloring book for teaching hometown history.
"I was impressed that they had put together so much information and the illustrations were a lot of fun and engaging," said Beth Carr, Anderson Elementary Third Grade Teacher. She adds, "I think its important for kids to have a knowledge of where they're coming from."
Mary Jo Gorden is the chair of the commission. She believes that creating this historical coloring book they put the county's history into the hands of the next generation.
"Our mission is to preserve and promote Angelina County history... This was something we could do for the children of Angelina County," said Gorden.
The students are not the only ones learning.
"I never knew that Lufkin was the first place to use pine trees to make paper," said Carr.
Learning about their town's history really engaged the third graders.
"It really opened up our class for discussion and ideas. And that was what was so magical about it. It brought everything to life when they can make connections with something in their personal history," said Carr.
That's exactly what Gorden and the commission hoped to achieve when they embarked on the project.
"I just want everyone to love our history because we have such a special, interesting history in Angelina County and I don't think we've recognized it," said Gorden.
The project is just getting started. L.I.S.D. was just the first. Up next for the commission is Huntington I.S.D.
Gorden wants to encourage teachers in Zavalla, Central and Hudson to contact the Angelina County Historical Commission with their own unique stories for future books for their area.