Negaunee High School students put together documentary of Mather B Mine

NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WLUC) - The history of mining in the U.P. is rich with stories of grit, hard work, and rough times.

Two students from the Negaunee High School wanted to make sure those stories weren't lost as time passes.

They've created a documentary chronicling the history of the Mather B Mine, where Negaunee High School now stands.

Long before the footsteps of students filled the halls, Negaunee High School was once the bustling Mather B Mine.

"This work was dangerous but people had to do it to support the community and their families, and they did it, said English Teacher Andy Skewis.

Skewis knew bits and pieces of the history and challenged his students to create a documentary about it.

"They told a lot of personal stories. Fun stories, scary stories, just what you'd expect to hear from a friend or something, said senior Keegan McGonigle.

McGonigle and Davis Bagley, another senior at the school, put in over 100 hours of work, interviewing men who worked in the mine, writing a story line, and editing it all together, to create and hour and a half long film.

"Those stories aren't going to be here for very much longer, so we need to keep remembering those stories, and this documentary helps with that," said Bagley.

They learned a lot of facts about their school and community, but some of the lessons they learned along the way were invaluable.

"It's kind of ironic that an elective class has prepared me more for college than any other class that I've taken. It's taught me time management, and that even though I'm so passionate about creating videos that there's still road blocks. Overcoming those road blocks have helped me learn so much more about what I'm passionate about," said McGonigle.

Skewis says their hard work on the project is not unlike that of the miners in their documentary.

"We have really talented students, and also kids that are committed to their community too, that they saw that this was important, and they spend tons of time and put tons of work into bringing this to the community and sharing it with them," Skewis commented.

On July 12th, there will be a dedication and memorial at the high school, where a sculpture of a miner, made by Davis, will be hung in the building and where the community can watch the documentary.

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