Students explore ‘Baldwin Then and Now’


Future generations of Baldwin students might ask what the community was like in 2018 — and some of the answers will lie in a coloring book on their school’s bookshelf. School officials last Thursday unveiled “Baldwin Then and Now,” a book that shows how Baldwin used to be and what it looks like today.

The book is the result of a two-year, district- and community-wide collaboration between students, teachers, residents and the Baldwin Historical Society.

Karen Montalbano, vice president of the historical society, said the group was happy to help the students. “We’re there to keep information flowing about the history of Baldwin,” Montalbano said. “This is not the first project we’ve worked on.”

The group provided historical photos — including shots of old schoolhouses — of Baldwin to the students. As of last Friday, Montalbano had not seen a copy of the book but said she’s excited to see the finished product. “I absolutely want to see it,” she said.

Dr. Shari Camhi, superintendent of the Baldwin School District, told students their work would be preserved for future students to use for research. “There are going to be students who are going to want to know, ‘Can you tell me about how Baldwin used to be?’” she said during a presentation at Brookside Elementary School. “And the ‘used to be’ is going to be now.’”

Students at all grade levels contributed to the book. Second-grade teachers and students interviewed longtime Baldwinites to figure out what the community was like decades ago. They also went on a field trip to Nunley’s Carousel, once part of the famous Nunley’s Carousel and Amusement Park in Baldwin.

Students then wrote poems about Nunley’s and how the community has changed over the years. Middle school and high school students also researched the history of Baldwin, and wrote captions for old photos of the community.

The pages of present-day Baldwin, captured by high school photography students, were converted into coloring book pages.

Freshman Elijah Vielot said them most interesting thing he found during his research is that Baldwin Middle School was built on the former site of a swamp. “There used to be nothing there at all,” he said.

Students from Baldwin schools signed copies of the book, which were then presented to members of the Baldwin Board of Education at their Sept. 12 meeting.