Heritage Center News & Events

  • April 27, 2018: Going Home: A Story of Dedication, Courage, and Friendship.

    This project takes us back to the early 20th Century when three young men developed a friendship that would last for over 100 years.  Bill Maher, Zenneth Pond, and Elwood Bailey grew up children of the Great Depression and relied on what some call “the Jackson Hustle” to make their way in the world.  They were fearless and lived life to the fullest. Each were pioneers in the early aviation field, and they were taught to fly by one of Jackson Junior College’s champions, Frank Dove.  All found their way to the battlefield; two lost their lives over the Pacific; and one spent a lifetime trying to bring his two friends “home.”

    Jackson College Heritage Center students have researched the families and communities that shaped these young men.  Their story has become our story—a story of commitment.

    On April 27th, 2019, we shared our art project and film as we honored those who have given all they had for us. Our community supported the students’ work with over 400 Jacksonians in attendance.

    On May 30th, 2019, an encore event was hosted by the Jackson College Foundation in response to the community’s request to see the film and display again. Over 200 people attended and remembered Elwood Ray Bailey and his great sacrifice for America’s freedom.

  • December 30, 2018: Michigan Theater Christmas Tree Pageant Fundraiser

    We won the 2018 Michigan Theater Christmas Tree fundraiser!  Barb Markowski helped the Heritage Center students create ornaments with the faces of the 39 fallen JJC WWII soldiers. We put the on the Heritage Center tree upstairs at the Michigan Theater. The community was invited to come to the Theater during the month of December, view the trees and vote for their favorite at the front desk.  We received the most votes and funds.  All the proceeds the HC receives will go to the cause of the Heritage Center veteran work. A big thank you goes to the Michigan Theater and especially Linda Ferguson who supports our students in so many ways.

    Please visit our Facebook page where you can see the video showing the HC students reading the names of all of the WWII JJC young men who sacrificed their lives for their country. We are remembering our own.

  • November 11, 2018: Veterans Day

    A heartfelt message of love and gratitude is sent to our veterans today.

    The Jackson College Heritage Center cares about our veterans. With each of our projects, we learn more and more about the sacrifices and struggles our veterans have endured.

    While we do look to the past and collect stories that seem to be fading away—this year we have also learned how important it is to acknowledge and honor the veterans of the present—those who are still in their youth and have their entire lives ahead of them. We hope to stand in the gap in some way to help them achieve their goals—and we encourage them to tell their own stories.

    We wish to thank the JC Veterans Resource Center for supporting our veterans as they work toward their academic goals. We wish to thank Sgt Steven Moton for his work in collecting JC veteran stories. We wish to thank all of the veterans who have gave of their time and shared their stories with us

    We wish to thank Kaytlin Higgins and Jacob Smith for working on our most current project about the friendship between William Maher, Zenneth Pond, and Elwood Bailey—three veterans whose sacrifice is well known to our students and community.

    And we do thank the community members who support our students and veterans in our work—collecting and preserving stories for future generations. A genuine and humble thank you from the bottoms of our hearts to our veterans—we, at the Jackson College Heritage Center, will remember you throughout the year.

  • October 13, 2018: Elwood Bailey laid to rest at Chapel Cemetery


    2nd Lt Elwood Bailey, from the Marine Fighting Squadron 223, was one of our own. He is a Jackson County boy—born and raised on a farm during the Great Depression. His cousin, Zenneth Pond and he dreamed of flying one day—and their dream came true at Jackson Junior College.

    They were part of the Civilian Pilot Training Program–led by Dean Frank Dove. There, they took flying lessons and pooled their money with their buddies (including Bill Maher) and purchased a Piper Cub plane. They had what is called the “Jackson Hustle”—-they rented the plane to their peers, which helped pay for it, and they got their own flying practice and time in. They raced the Jackson County sky dreaming of going farther and farther….

    Elwood Bailey lost his life in 1942 over the Solomon Islands in Guadalcanal—along with his close friend, Zenneth Pond.

    It’s important that we remember these young men and women as more than words on a page or an image or two.

    They were boys who played on the porch or rowed their dogs along river beds.

    They went to school and studied—yearning for their moment to shine

    They fell in love and planned a future together….

    And they faced what so many others will never understand….

    2nd Lt. Elwood Bailey’s remains have been missing for over 75 years—in our last project about the Ponds, we had a hard time finding any information about Elwood Bailey. Once the project finished, though, we were alerted that his remains had been found.

    Family members came to our event bearing photos and documents—holding them tenderly as they shared.

    Others called who were connected to Elwood through the young woman he married, Eunice—they were married one day before he shipped out. She never forgot him and with her second family, she shared his memory and they shared that with us.

    He lived—he gave all he had for us—- and he was loved

    The Jackson College Heritage Center will never forget Lt. Elwood Bailey; he is one of our own.

  • October 6, 2018: Elwood Bailey’s story is shared on the Click on Detroit online newspaper.

    We are doing our part, at the JC Heritage Center, to have William Maher, Zenneth Pond, and Elwood Bailey remembered—that was/is our promise. Our new documentary (still in the works) will show April 27th at the Potter Theater and we plan to highlight this young man’s life for all to remember.

    The JC Heritage Center also wants our own living veterans always remembered—We are working to have their stories collected for future generations.

    Read the story

  • September 7, 2018:Heritage Center Wins Two State Awards
    • 2018 Governor’s Service Award for Education and the
    • 2018 Michigan State Historical Society State Award for Education

    Jackson County has a rich history—one filled with inspiring individuals—pioneers who stood in the gap at watershed moment in our collective histories.

    Jackson college students have worked with community members and local institutions to collect memories/stories about our community and our college and share them with the world.

    And now these incredible volunteer students are being recognized for their sacrifice and dedication to preserving those stories.


    If you would like to support the efforts of these students and this work, please contact the Jackson College Foundation:https://www.jccmi.edu/foundation/

  • August 10, 2018: Miss Jackson Michigan Award Ceremony

    Hooray! Our own Emily Mast won the 2018 Miss Jackson County crown ! She is a leader in our Heritage Center and volunteers all over Jackson County during the free time she has other than our HC work and her schoolwork. She is WONDERFUL!

    Emily came to the Center every single time I put a call out for volunteers. She worked at every job given and gave all she had to the work!

    Please congratulate Emily Mast whose poise, grace, and kindness will long be remembered by all of those she has touched over these past few years.


  • August 9, 2018: Tour of the Willow Run, Yankee Air Museum

    At the Heritage Center, we always support those who preserve stories of those who came before as well as those we gave for others and are still with us today

    The Yankee Air Museum in Ypsilanti is working to preserve and share the stories of those Michiganders who were/are connected to aviation. The Museum showcases the history of military aircraft from the 1910s to the 1980s. It explains aviation technology and history and has many areas in which STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) is made simple for children.

    We’d like to thank the kind volunteer for taking time to show the museum to us. Thank you so much!

    Maher, Pond, and Bailey were pioneers in aviation. Much like their ancestors left their homes to discover, explore, and make safe America as it developed, and changed—so too did these early aviation pilots sacrifice safety to pioneer the skies.

    A HUGE THANK YOU to all those who work to save the stories of those who came before!

  • August 9, 2018: Answering the Call: Film and Quilt Display at the Tecumseh Library

    We had a wonderful time at the Tecumseh District Library! Community members came to see the film and artifacts—a member of the Pond family came and shared her love of genealogy with our students! She could not make the February showing of the film, so she was so happy to have a chance to be part of the celebration today! We are do happy to share her family story with her.

    The film is our gift to the Pond family in memory of Zenneth—he was one of our own. We’ve grown a love for the Pond family through this project and recognize the sacrifice their family has made over the past 400 years as American pioneers and soldiers.

    A shout out to the FAB students who came also! This is your work and your project! Sherry Dufty, Mary Hallock, Max Jacob-Sellers came, to check out the Heritage Center work.

    Our dear Julie Howard brought her husband and friend, and our Beth Brayman stayed and helped our mother / daughter Brower team take the event down. I’ll not forget them standing in the gap today!

    And a very special thank you to the Tecumseh District Library and especially Mr Chuck Harpst who helped us with this event, organizing the hosting it for us. He also has helped us with the research on the new project—THANK YOU MR HARPST!

    Great people! Great story! A great time with our Heritage Center students!

    We are Saving our Stories for YOU!

  • August 4, 2018: Invitation to Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

    Remembering great women who made a difference…

    Oct 18th is the 2018 Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

    Last year, a group of our best research students were invited guests to the 2017 Induction Ceremony in Lansing. Safca Frost, McKenzie Smith, Emily Mast, Brooke Jennett, Brandon McIntyre, Paula Crow, Jo Koerkle, Reese Horne, Carley Bendall, and Sgt. Steven Moton attended alongside Michigan Congressmen and women, judges, and businessmen/women.

    A big THANK YOU to Shirley Zeller, the Jackson Women’s history council, and the generous donor who recognized the efforts of these volunteer students. I (Diana Agy)  also attended the event and enjoyed listening to the stories of how these Michigan women sacrificed for others—Sacrificing for others is what our students in the Heritage Center know much about—and so much more so for our student veterans who have offered all they have to serve and then give even more when they come home to Jackson. To give of oneself is the highest form of honor.

    We hope to attend the 2018 event and witness the induction of the new group of women who made a difference:

    Contemporary Inductees
    Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha
    Kym Worthy
    Dr. Angela K. Wilson

    Historical Inductees
    Agatha Biddle (1797-1873)
    Clara Stanton Jones (1913-2012)

    We are Saving our Stories for YOU!

  • July 4, 2018: Remembering our Veterans!

    On this July 4th, we wish to extend our warmest thoughts to all of our friends. As part of our current research into the life of Zenneth Pond, we discovered the impact his ancestors had on American History—and especially the sacrifices made during BOTH wars for American independence—1776 and 1812. Here is a quote from a historian in the 19th century who knew the first descendants of these Revolutionary heroes:

    “In the struggle for national independence, [the Ponds] rose almost to a man in defense of their rights, and Revolutionary records bear ample evidence of their alacrity and zeal. Among the first to spring to arms at the receipt of the Lexington alarm, on the morning of the memorable 19th of April 1775, “there were those of the name [of Pond] who did not sheathe the sword, until, long years afterwards, peace had been declared. In the war of 1812, too, were found many of the name who shouldered the musket and fought in the ranks. Many of them were found battling for the “Stars and Stripes,” and . . , many shed their blood in their country’s cause.  (George W. Runyan 1875)

    Josiah Pond’s diary does not capture his memories of this great family’s contributions to America’s freedom. But he was born into a family in which his 11 siblings either fought alongside their father in the first American Revolution or fought themselves in the second war for Independence in 1812, or indeed, fought in both wars. His two sisters married men who also made their marks in America’s struggle for freedom.

    So many names from the Jackson area can be found fighting alongside the Ponds during these struggles: Gates, Choate, Hatch, and Tuthill to name a few.

    The Jackson College Heritage Center remembers those who came before—our families and friends and loved ones—-so their lives and contributions will never be forgotten.

    We must never forget those who have fought (and who are fighting) for America

    We are now working on the history of Elwood Bailey’s family; he and Zenneth died in WWII during a mission over the Solomon Islands. He had been counted as “missing” all of these years, and now his remains have been found. We’ve included photos of his military tags and medals—-his family received his dog tags along with the Boy Scout knife he always carried.

  • June 15, 2018: Answering the Call film at the Carnegie Library in Jackson

    A fabulous event at the Carnegie Library last night! We viewed the Answering the Call film and showcased the genealogy quilts the students made.

    The audience was filled with family, friends, neighbors, and visitors. Many in the audience are veterans, and we at the Jackson College Heritage Center love our veterans.

    We acknowledge the service of all of our veterans. One of the guests, Nathan Walters, shared his story on the first project the Heritage Center completed—-the Veterans History Project. That is where we met William Maher and he sent a call to the universe for someone to remember his friends—Zenneth Pond and Elwood Bailey. We answered that call.

    Ellen Sponslor was another former Heritage Center student; she is now a teacher in Kalamazoo Michigan. She drove all of the way across the state to visit us! What a wonderful surprise!

    And the photo below shows a family of veterans with our own Madisyn Clark, the 2017 Heritage Center Student of the Year and the 2018 Susan B. Anthony Essay Contest Award Winner!

    Charley Boyle, his daughter Heather Prater and her husband Chris Prater drove up from Ohio on a trip and stopped by to support our students! What beautiful people we know and work with at the JC Heritage Center.

    They are photographed with the Governor’s Service Award. We plan to take it across the entire county and sharing it with everyone who has been part of our projects over the past 10 years: students, community members, family, and friends. Everyone in Jackson County is part of this year long work—they won the award alongside of Jackson College and together we are SAVING OUR STORIES FOR YOU!

  • June 6, 2018: Governor’s Service Award Ceremony

    2018 Governor’s Service Award Ceremony! We are so honored to be part of the great group of volunteers in Michigan! We met some wonderful people to give their time and dedicated services to others with no expectation of reciprocity—-that’s what our Heritage Center students do weekly. Giving to others. Collecting stories. Tom Izzo spoke about dreaming big and making those dreams come true—don’t lead by example—instead, prod, push, encourage, and bring others along the path with you. Kellie Dean, Shirley Zeller, and many others stopped by to encourage our sweet students. And Mackenzie Smith snagged a photo with the great Tom Izzo (a gift to her father for his birthday). Pat Maher, daughter of William J. Maher, drove to the ceremony with Paula Crow and Brandon McIntyre. What a huge support she is! It was a magical night for the Heritage Center and our college and community!

  • May 27, 2018: Cascades Museum – preparing for opening day!

    This past week, our JC Heritage Center students worked with community members to put the Cascades Museum back ‘up’ for the summer. In 2009, Jackson College Heritage Center worked with the Cascades Park and the Ella Sharp Museum and renovated the Cascades Museum. Students worked daily to accession over 600 artifacts and created a catalog with photographs and descriptions of each one.

    The students learned about Captain Sparks, the original “Dreamer” in Jackson, Michigan. Maggie Phelan, Janie Boyle, Alison Lehman, Alison Kelleher, Jolene Marks, Stephanie Trujillio, Holly Luty, Adam Basore, Caitlin Owen, Mara Weirzbicki, Ellen Sponsler, Emily Woolworth, Theresa Dark, Jody Thomas, Brianna Axon, Samuel Cale, Dirk Deibler, Jonathan Curtis, Zachary Jones, Debra Mills,and Whitney Clare Stoner. Josh Hunt has been with the project since the beginning and he stopped by to say “hello” to the students—he has preserved some of the original seating and light technology from the early days. He and the students have retold Captain Sparks’ amazing story–he is a legend and will never be forgotten.

    Captain Sparks’ grandson, Sparry, and Sparry’s wife Nan Sparks, have been supporters of our students for over 10 years, and they share their stories with our new students.

    Our students are dreamers. They are courageous and dedicated. Please stop by the Cascades Museum (it is directly next to the Cascades Falls in the brick building next to the seating) and you will see the faces of our Heritage Center students on museum panels showing them at work as they kept Captain Sparks dream going.

    If you are one of the original students (or any of our Heritage Center / Writing Fellow students) who worked on this and other projects, please comment here and like our page and visit us! Our new students would love to hear from you!

  • April 27, 2018: Brandon McIntyre wins Heritage Center Student of the Year!

    Long after our JC Heritage Center students leave us, they will be remembered. They are making history. Each hour they take away from spending time with their families and friends, they are giving to others. We, at JC, won’t forget their sacrifice and hard work.

    Yesterday, two of our own JC graduates and Heritage Center pioneers stopped by to visit–and they jumped in and helped us with our continuing work.

    A shout out to Paula Crow and Brandon McIntyre—our own pioneers in the Heritage Center work. THANK YOU!

    And please join me in congratulating Brandon McIntyre on this year’s Heritage Center Student of the Year! Here are the words read during the Award Ceremony as Brandon received his much-deserved honor this past May:

    The Jackson College Heritage Center is a collaboration between JC faculty, administration, and students; local museums and libraries; and volunteer community participants. The Heritage Center promotes innovative approaches to history preservation and community engagements. Participants are encouraged to take ownership of their college experience and to share their talents with the community.

    The Jackson College Heritage Center Student of the Year demonstrates mentoring and service learning at the highest level. This year’s Heritage Center Fellow of the year donated over 2,000 volunteer hours working on the Answering the Call Project. He interviewed veterans and alumni, scanned 1,000s of photos, helped create two genealogy quilts, and represented the college and Program at community celebrations and events. It is with our great pleasure that we announce BRANDON MCINTYRE as the 2018 Heritage Center student of the year.

  • April 2, 2018: John McCrea and Ilyasah Shabazz, Malcom X’s daughter

    In one week, JC hosted two renown guests who shared with our Heritage Center students (and the community) their own storytelling talents. Ilyasah Shabazz, professor, author, winner of the NAACAP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, and daughter of Civil Rights leader Malcolm X came and talked about ways in which our students can create “new stories.” She also shared her latest book X, a novel, and brought light to the story of her father and his work. Copies of the book were handed out to the audience, and Ms. Shabazz graciously personalized each copy for those who requested one. After the signing, she took photos—Julie Young, Gabby Carpenter, and Megan Hoop received personalized copies of the novel and their photos taken with Ms Shabazz.

    The following Saturday, Eisner Award winner and illustrator John McCrea came to Jackson and was a headliner in this year’s ConCon. He shared his own story of growing up in Ireland in a war-torn environment. The storytelling in comics provided a mental ‘escape’ from what was happening in his community. He decided early on that he wanted to illustrate comics, and he worked diligently to hone his craft. His pieces are powerful, with each pen-stroke adding to the story-Our Heritage Center students came on that bright Saturday afternoon and interacted with Mr. McCrea. We are so pleased to support Steven Albee-Scott, Steven Tuckey, and Jon Hart’s hard work with the ConCon.

    And THANK YOU Ilyasah Shabazz and John McCrea for coming to Jackson and ‘making history’ with our students.

    Jackson College Heritage Center will not forget your visit!

  • March 31, 2018: Carrie Dove Morton Interview

    A huge shout-out to the Bart and Karen Hawley and the JTV Bart Hawley Show in Jackson, Michigan! They invited Carrie Dove Morton onto the Bart Hawley Show—she is the granddaughter of JC’s very own Frank Dove! He served as dean, professor, and most importantly, as friend to JC students for more than 40 years. He was well loved and will be a central figure in the Heritage Center’s upcoming documentary about the Civilian Pilot Training Program. Thank you, Bart and Karen! And a special thank you to Mr and Mrs Morton for driving across the state line to share their day with us!

  • March 31, 2018: Susan B. Anthony Award Banquet

    Students at the Jackson College Heritage Center were recognized for their interest in history and writing at the Susan B. Anthony dinner, sponsored by the Jackson Women’s History Council (JWHC). Madisyn Clark and Reese Horne were winners of the essay contest. Each wrote about someone whose actions reflect those of Susan B. Anthony—supporting diversity, equality, and voice.

    The JWHC decided to create an emerging leader award to recognize young women and men who contribute to their communities in ways that support those same Ideals. Our very own Safca Frost won the first ever “EMERGING LEADER AWARD” !

    We are so very proud of our Jackson College Heritage Center students! At the Center, they either find their voice or hone it—-and at this award banquet, they demonstrated courage and confidence as they shared their stories with the audience. The students were LOVELY, members of the JWHC were LOVELY, and the event was thought-provoking.

    Because of the leadership and mentoring demonstrated by the Jackson Women’s History Council, our students were part of a larger story—one that spans over 150 years! Thank you to the donors who provided the tickets for some of our students! Thank you to Brigette Robinson, Director of JC Alumni, for inviting us to meet the JWHC group initially, and thank you Susan B. Anthony for creating such an inspirational story!

    Brandon McIntyre, Paula Crow, Gabby Carpenter, Gavin Baker, Mackenzie and Hailey Smith, Safca Frost, Krista Burke, Emily Mast, Reese Horne, and Madisyn Clark were the JC Heritage Center students who attended.

  • February 3, 2017: Answering the Call: A Memorial to Zenneth Arthur Pond

  • October 19, 2017: Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

    Heritage Center volunteers were invited guests at the 2017 Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.  Curtesy of Shirley Zeller, from the Jackson Women’s History Council, and an anonymous our students attended the gala at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. The ceremony honored the men and women who have made an impact on the lives of thousands. One of the photos shows Carly Bendall with Senator Hertel Jr, a recipient of one of the awards. It was a beautiful event and evening.

  • June 29, 2017: Answering the Call: A Memorial to Zenneth Arthur Pond

    During our ANSWERING THE CALL PROJECT, we learned that Zenneth Pond, a JJC alumni,  descended from a long line of American Heroes. The Ponds rode the waves with John Winthrop—crossed the Delaware with George Washington—saved the life of Lafayette – and paid Abraham Lincoln $5.00 to defend them when they helped slaves escape North. In 1942, Zenneth Pond, lost his life over the Pacific fighting for American freedom!

    In 2016, Professor Agy brought in a box of diaries to the Heritage Center for students to explore (diaries she had gathered over the past 20 years). In one of them was a shoemaker’s diary written by Josiah Pond in 1839. On one page was the handwritten words that captured a student’s eye. She read the words aloud: REMEMBER ME! REMEMBER ME! REMEMBER ME! (she paused and then said) MRS AGY–IT CALLS TO ME!

    The diary was written by Zenneth Pond’s ancestor almost 175 years ago and it found its way to our Heritage Center!
    Inside it, we discovered that Bill Maher and Zenneth Pond’s ancestors knew one another when Michigan was a frontier–Mary (Maher) Turney made a dress for young Cynthia Pond to wear when she began teaching school in Liberty Michigan. Zenneth Pond was Bill Maher’s friend—both are JJC alumni! For our Project, we created two large genealogy quilts of the Maher and Pond families and a short documentary as a memorial to Zenneth Pond.

    Bill Maher always wanted his friend to be remembered – and we hope we have, in some small way, fulfilled this dream. We were remembering our own!