R-3's Piratology group constructs timeline display of district's history

Contributed photo The Piratology group’s timeline display highlighting the history of the Platte County R-3 School District was recently completed inside the high school. A unique group of volunteers helped generate content for a visual history of the Platte County R-3 School District, and the timeline is now ready for display inside the high school.Jerri Spores and Laura Hulett did much of the work with Piratology but also utilized students and community members. A timeline exhibit now sits along the wall across from Wilson Center for Performing Arts, starting in the 1940s ahead of the merger into Platte County R-3 and running until present day.

With room built on for additional decades, the focus is on supplying key dates, photographs and memorabilia from the district’s history. Originally slated for completion in the spring, the project ran into the summer but will now be ready for an official unveiling to the public during Platte County’s first home football game, scheduled for Friday, Sept. 4 vs. Ruskin.

Doors to that area of the school will remain open before and during the game, allowing interested members of the community to take a first look.

“It took a little longer than what we had planned,” said Hulett, R-3’s director of communications and Platte County alumnus, “but it’ll be ready for school to start in the fall.”

The plaques above the timeline are removable and can be switched, and some open spots remain. The Piratology group wants the exhibit to be a living timeline of the district’s history. Hulett and Spores will accept submissions that could be considered for use.

“We could have spent hours and hours, but we want to have community support; we want to have alumni send things in,” Spores said. “Where we have holes and gaps, we want them to send us things we can put in. Whether we do it every semester, every quarter, we want that to be a living, breathing display.”

Spores took over the group this year and continues to plan for its future.

Yearbooks and alumni were used for research and helping to fill in any large existing gaps. The timeline notes changes in buildings, leadership and athletics throughout the year. As the exhibit expands, Spores wants to create hard copy binders of the historical items and the idea of a touchscreen display, similar to the one dedicated to athletic history outside the high school’s main gym, could be a possibility at some point.

Donations have funded the project so far, and Platte County superintendent Dr. Mike Reik hopes those will continue to come in, along with planned fundraisers, to keep the project alive. Spores, a 1990 graduate, said the advanced marketing class plans to sell T-shirts and will take over the sell of licensing for seats at Pirate Stadium.

All of the effort in the museum-quality exhibit goes toward maintaining the historical record moving forward as the district continues to grow.

“I’m an alumni, so it was important to me to help preserve our Pirate history,” Spores said of her motivation. “I think people will appreciate it, especially as we move forward with construction and other things.”

Those interested in submitting a picture or item to the Piratology project can contact Hulett at hulettl@platteco.k12.mo.us or spores at sporesj@platteco.k12.mo.us. Items can be loaned out and returned.