Answering the Call
A Memorial to Jackson Junior College Student Lt. Zenneth Pond
In 2017, Jackson College students learned about CARING when they created a tribute to Jackson Junior College alumnus, Lt. Zenneth Arthur Pond. Students pored through journals, tax records and antique photos as they researched Zenneth Pond’s family and that of his college friend, William Maher. It was Maher’s lifelong wish to have his friend remembered. Jackson College students fulfilled this wish. They created a documentary film titled: “Answering the Call: A Memorial to Jackson Junior College Student Lt. Zenneth Pond” and two large genealogy quilts.
Getting the chance to meet her and seeing that passion for history was one of the greatest memories I have working on the project. I remember her looking at Zenneth Pond’s picture on the wall that day. She looked at his picture with such honor and gratitude, and then began to tell the story of Zennethth Pond to me and what a hero he was.
– Emily, student
I have worked on several different projects with the Heritage Center but my favorite by far has to be the one we are celebrating today [Answering the Call]. At first it is easy to think why should the film matter? Why should I spend my Friday’s shuffling through letters, documents, and pictures of someone I didn’t even know? Someone who I wasn’t related to in anyway?
It is to me very important to remember people who have died in war, because sometimes we who don’t directly see or feel the effects of war other than on our TV and computer screens can forget that war is real and takes lives of amazing people. The fact we were making a film to remember Zenneth Pond and to keep alive the legacy of a man strikes in me the value of never forgetting our brothers and sisters, our heroes.
We are all some way or another related to this man, some through blood, some through citizenship, some through Jackson College, some from experiences. Everyone who worked on the project, everyone who watches the film will be able to relate to Zenneth Pond, and like me may see someone they know in him whether it be a father, grandfather, or and uncle. The intense drive, the love for his country and the powerful evident love for his family he showed me through his letters made me feel like I knew him , and by the end of the project it was no longer that we were working on something about someone we didn’t know, but we were working on a memorial to our friend.
– Reece Horne
I have been a quilt artist, instructor, designer and entrepreneur in Jackson for over 40 years. Far and away, one of the most memorable projects of my career is my minor involvement in the Jackson College Foundation Heritage Center research project of 2017.
Diana Agy and Lynne Loftis contacted me in the Fall of 2016 and asked if I would mentor their students in constructing two quilts to commemorate their research of the Pond and Maher family trees. Of course, I said yes, and for that I give my humble and heartfelt thanks.
Little did I know I was about to receive so much more from these amazing students and educators than I ever could have given. Teaching young people my craft is always a joy, but seeing their dedication and total commitment of time and talent to creating such a professional museum quality project overwhelmed me with pride and affection for each one of them.
Their project was college level work and very professionally created, but in watching it unfold, what really stood out to me was the metamorphosis of these shy, introverted, often forgotten and invisible students into confident, proud, generous, purpose driven young adults.
When we first began working together, they knew nothing about quilt construction. But they were all eager to learn, so I brought my sewing machines and tools to the Maher campus every Friday for months. Under Lynne’s and my guidance, they cut fabric, they sewed it together, they built these two quilts. They researched each and every name that appears on both of them. They labored unceasingly to bring their research to life. They transformed newsprint charts on the walls of their workspace into beautiful colorful fabric tributes to the Pond and Maher families.
They were terrified to speak and sing in public. They didn’t think they could play their musical instruments in front of an audience. They actually made us turn around while they practiced! I heard so many of them say, “I didn’t think I had any talents to offer but I found out that I did!” They came in early and stayed late. They showed up every day. They received no college credit. One student rode his bike for several weeks to get there when his car broke down. They did the hard work for months because they felt part of something bigger than themselves. They sacrificed, laughed, cried, worried, stretched and challenged themselves. No job was beneath them.
They learned the value of doing something simply because it was worthy of being done, with no expectation of compensation. Their lives were transformed over these past several long months and they will carry this magnificent experience with them for a lifetime.
I wish more institutions of higher learning would take a page from the Heritage Center playbook. The rewards of these projects are priceless. The community benefits from the preservation of local history and is enriched by the museum exhibits. But paramount is the transformation of these shy, often overlooked students. They blossomed into confident young adults with a fabulous work ethic, an understanding of the value in preserving our past, the pride of a job magnificently done.
They learned the joy of coming together as strangers and leaving as life long friends who gave unselfishly to their community simply because it was a very cool thing to do. They surrounded and supported a fellow student with a genuine outpouring of love when his mother passed away unexpectedly last spring.
They are the foundation of our future and I can think of no greater investment. Diana Agy is an amazing teacher, mentor, confidante, and team builder who truly loves each and every one of her students. She finds value in each human life she touches. Jackson College is blessed beyond measure with her gifts. My hope is that Jackson College will continue to support this course with Mrs. Agy at the helm, so future students have the opportunity to participate in a learning experience like no other they will ever know. The students were not the only ones transformed by this research project. My life was changed in immeasurable ways. Working on this project created within me a permanent bond with these students, Diana Agy, Lynne Loftis, and the Pond and Maher families. My heart is full of love for all the students with whom I was privileged to work. I cherish those few months we spent together and will hold them close in my heart all my days.
– Barbara Markowski