WELLS — Wells High School teacher Mike Alberts and some of his students are keeping history alive.

Alberts began an oral history project — allowing his students to interview older individuals who have a connection with Wells.

“We were looking at the importance of local history,” Alberts said. “We started this in 2002, and then worked on the project every other year. I did the first interview, and from there it was all student led. I was strictly a background sponsor.”

Alberts said his Advanced Placement social studies class formerly participated, however since the school no longer offers that class, the Advanced Placement United States history class does the project.

According to seniors Brett Morton and Douglas Durham, who participated in the project the 2004-05 school year, much can be learned from older generations.

“The older people in the community have wisdom and stories to share,” Durham said. “A lot of them don’t have the access to share stories with the younger generation. Life is short when you think about it. I’ve found that most of them are eager to share their stories. You get to hear some pretty interesting things that you might not have ever imagined.”

Durham interviewed David Pitts, who has lived Wells all his life.

“He talked about how Wells used to have a movie theater and about how the churches have changed over time. There would be a lot of country western concerts — Dolly Parton, Skeeter Davis, plus a number of productions.”

Durham also said Pitts discussed how the tomato production business, like in Jacksonville, flourished.

Morton said he enjoyed interviewing James Bo Jay Hodges.

“He (Hodges) said he wished ‘nowadays kids would get to see how it was back then,’” Morton said.

Topics ranged from family to sports stories to how Wells was “back in days gone by.”

“I think they enjoyed it,” Morton said. “It gives them a chance to talk about stories to kind of pass down to younger generations.”

Alberts said interview transcripts can be found at the Wells Library, the Jacksonville Independent School District Library and Jacksonville Public Library. Some transcripts are also found on the school district’s Web site.

“We wanted this also to be used for research purposes — it is true history without any editorializing,” Alberts said.

Alberts said the newest class ready to conduct interviews has not set a time yet to start the project.

“It gives a sense of pride in the community,” Alberts said. “We’re all excited about it.”

Ten interviews have been conducted so far — and not all have been posted on the site, Alberts added.

To read transcripts of some of the interviews conducted, visit the Web site at http://www.wells.esc7.net/Cherokee/Wells/oral_history_project.html

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