MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Negaunee High School has always embraced their past. The students, known as ‘The Miners’ go to school on the site of the former Mather B Mine.
"It means a lot to be able to be part of the history of Negaunee and to be educated in a place of such history," said Negaunee High School student Chaz Bluse.
For the past couple years, English teacher Andy Skewis has explored this connection with his students through a project where students make a documentary on the history of the Mather Mine. This year, two students Davis Bagley, and Keegan McGonigle went above and beyond.
"So the number of interviews and the amount of footage that the students had to process and edit, and distill to the story that they had to tell was tremendous,” said Skewis. “Keegan and Davis put in hundreds of hours of work on it."
Along with their documentary, Bagley created a piece of art to honor the miners who worked at the Mather Mine.
"It doesn't really matter that I made it, I think it's more impressive that people get to see that its right next to the plaque of these people that served for the mine," said Bagley.
Bagley’s tribute, as well as a plaque with the names of the fallen miners now hangs on the front of Negaunee High School, to serve as a reminder to all future generations of the history that this building holds.
"Through a number of discussion over the last year or so, students became more aware of some of the specific history mostly that, men died here, and that really stuck with them,” said Skewis. “So they decided that it would be appropriate to educate the community, and to share the idea that people died coming to work here."
The plaque was paid for by donations from the community, and Thursday’s dedication received recognition not only from state representatives and senators, but from the governor himself.
"That was a nice little bit of a surprise, but nice, and great for our community again for people to recognize that mining is an integral part of not just the Upper Peninsula, but Michigan's history, and that the work that people did here was meaningful and worthy of recognition," said Skewis.
Also honored were the students, whose documentary inspired the day.
"I think it's great,” said McGonigle. “I didn't expect this many people to show up. I love making videos and it's an honor to have all these people watch one of my videos at one time in person."
If you'd like to learn more about the Mather Mine, you can visit the Michigan Iron Industry Museum in Negaunee Township.