Zia students re-enact history of Clovis

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Zia third-grader Amber Washburn explains Wednesday about the pioneers of Clovis in the 1930s to Clovis living history museum attendees.

Liliana Castillo

Fourteen Zia Elementary School Gifted and Talented students re-enacted the history of Clovis in a living museum Wednesday.

The students created scenes from the four eras of Clovis’ history. They included the Clovis Man Era, Native American Era, Ranchers and Pioneers Era and the Railroad and Building of Clovis Era.

Students from Mary Finifrock Perez’s second and third grade G&T class chose to act as a character from each era such as a railroader or a Comanche woman.

As museum attendees walked through the exhibits, the students told the stories through the eyes of the people who lived it.

“It makes them realize where we are now and how it used to be completely different but is still the same in some way,” Finifrock Perez said. “It’s always been about families trying to make their lives.”

Finifrock Perez said the living museum is the culmination of class research on Clovis and its history. Even though the displays were detailed, Finifrock Perez said they could have spent more time because Clovis’ history is so rich.

Third-grader Kinsey Bilberry said she enjoyed playing a Comanche woman.

“They made their own clothes and lived in teepees. The women stayed home and worked and the men went out and hunted,” Bilberry said of Comanches.

Bilberry said she enjoyed playing the part and talking to people about her research.

Third-grader Caleb Crosswhite played the part of a railroader.

“I wanted to be a railroader because my dad and my grandpa are railroaders,” Crosswhite said, standing a little taller. “I want to follow in my family’s footsteps.”

Crosswhite said the living museum was fun and he enjoyed using his imagination.

Third-grader Mason Matlock researched his own family history for the project. J.H. Matlock, Mason Matlock’s great great grandfather, homesteaded in Ranchvale in 1916.

Matt Matlock, Mason Matlock’s father, and his wife Kim Matlock attended the event, where dozens of their photos from the early 1900s were on display.

“It’s really neat,” Matt Matlock said. “The project really hit home with us because he (Mason) is fourth generation here.”

Kim Matlock enjoyed the creativity required by the project.

“It’s a great creative way to extend learning out of the classroom and apply it,” she said.

Clovis resident Korena Prather’s son played the part of a cowboy.

“They did a really great job,” Prather said. “The students all had so much to say.”

Prather said their research was evident.

“They were talking over each other to tell me stuff,” she said.