AMESBURY — Students and teachers at Amesbury Innovation High School want people to know their recent scarecrow display wasn't simply a Halloween decoration, but also a way for them to publicize their latest project that is about to become a permanent marker of the city's 350th anniversary year.
Principal Eryn Maguire, along with teachers Patrick Hamilton and Michael Hildt, authored a grant that awarded the school $5,000 from the Amesbury Educational Foundation Inc. The funds were earmarked for the creation of the 350th anniversary Amesbury Riverwalk Timeline.
The timeline soon will be installed along the Amesbury Riverwalk beginning at the foot of Carriage Hill. It will include 14 permanent signs marking key moments in the city's history, such as the Industrial Revolution era and the more recent "progressive Amesbury" time.
"We have seen so much support for the 350th anniversary and we thought our students would be capable of moving things forward," Hamilton said.
Student Zach Levarity was one of the project's team leaders.
"I really didn't have to lead, we all worked together," Levarity said. "We just kept each other on track. That was about it."
Levarity said he learned a good deal about his hometown while working on the Riverwalk project.
"We were actually a part of Salisbury for most of the time and then broke off into another town," Levarity said.
Levarity added that the project brought students closer together as classmates and friends, too.
"I like the town and its history," Levarity said. "I like learning more about our history, because Amesbury is where I'm from."
Looking to let the public know about their work, all of the students spent Friday creating scarecrows of notable Amesbury historic figures, such as poet John Greenleaf Whittier, actor Jeff Donovan, Amelia Earhart and former Cashman Elementary School principal and current School Committee member Peter Hoyt.
"He was my principal at Cashman and was the best principal ever," student Paige Bateman said.
Hamilton said he is proud of his students, their scarecrows and their project.
"This gives the students a stake in their community," Hamilton said. "The work they have done is going to be there for years to come."
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.