FERRYSBURG — Students at the Ottawa Area ISD’s Careerline Tech Center played a role in creating a new historical marker in Ottawa County in 2021.
Rebecca Hopp, former mayor of Ferrysburg and instructor at CTC, led the effort to honor Hezekiah Smith, and looked to Tech students to help make the marker accessible for all residents. The marker is the first for the city and the first in audio accessible historical marker in Michigan.
Students from the Entrepreneurship and Global Business, which Hopp teaches, Software and Game Development and Applied Welding programs at the CTC contributed to the project. The marker includes a scannable QR code that accesses a voice-recorded history lesson posted on the city’s website, making it accessible to those with visual impairments.
Jenison senior Aidan Palmbos created the QR code and links to the city’s website, while Hamilton senior Ethan Doxey provided the voice for the audio recording. A group of welding students made sure the QR code was secured to the marker.
The maker recognizes the accomplishments of Hezekiah Smith, a free Black man who was a landowner and civil rights activist in Ottawa and Muskegon counties in the late 1840s. Smith came to own more than 500 acres of property in the area and is the namesake of Smith’ Bayou, which is the location for the historical maker.
His civil rights efforts included providing refuge for freed and escaped slaves on the Underground Railroad and serving as president, delegate or representative for various conventions and causes.
To learn more about Smith and the historical marker, visit ferrysburg.org/smiths-historical-marker/.
This article originally appeared on The Holland Sentinel: Careerline Tech students contribute to historical marker project