Preserving a purple and gold past

Where there was once an empty glass case in the main hallway of Santa Rita Elementary School, there is now a shrine dedicated to looking into the past.

The “Panther Museum” is filled with vintage photographs, memorabilia and various other artifacts of Liberty Hill’s history, paying homage to what the city was like and to serve as a reminder to the current generation of what their home was like long before the local landscape was destroyed. dotted with carefully planned communities, malls and modern schools.

Fifth grader Sloane Williams is the inspiration behind the colorful history exhibit and said the idea came from the fact that the space was originally empty.

“There was really nothing in them,” Williams said. “So I thought, why don’t we add a history museum so people can learn about Liberty Hill through the ages?”

Santa Rita Elementary School gym teacher Gino Peña said Williams once had an epiphany during a regular class.

“It was a normal day and the kids were doing their training stations,” he said. “Suddenly, out of nowhere, Sloan said, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a panther museum?”

Conceptualizing a museum is one thing, bringing it to life is quite another, and he needs outside help from local historian Gary Spivey, who has collected local artefacts throughout his life in Liberty. Hill.

According to Spivey, who donated the exhibits, it’s important that the past is connected to the present in order to pave the way for the future.

“Over the years, I’ve saved all of this so that people can see the progress of Liberty Hill,” Spivey said. “To understand the good times and the bad times.”

In addition, Spivey said he would like other local schools to follow suit.

“I want all schools to participate together,” he said. So everyone is on the same wavelength.

Peña said he was referred to Spivey after a third party intervened.

“I called the Chamber of Commerce and asked if they had any information on who could help,” he said. “They put me in touch with Mr. Spivey – it was about making phone calls and finding the right person.”

Keeping a connection to the past is vital for today’s students, Peña says.

“It’s good for them to be connected to their roots,” he said. “So that they can have an idea of ​​what was here originally.”

Approximately half of the case contains relics from Liberty Hill’s history, including a timeline of the city through the decades, as well as old school books, yearbooks, and other items, while the other half contains Panthers sports memorabilia, including letterman jackets, a pair of baseball boots. as well as a 1934 catcher’s glove and a 1984 sports page commemorating Liberty Hill State’s first-ever playoff football team, as well as a modern helmet.

Williams said it was important that the Panthers athletics be featured prominently.

“I thought there was a lot of sports stuff in there,” he said. “It means a lot to me and to other people. Liberty Hill is a great place to live and sports are a big part of it.”

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