Students in Jenny Lail’s Civics and Economics Class at Polk County High School recently capped an educational unit on local government, history and civic involvement by visiting several sites in Columbus.

Columbus Mayor and Polk County Historical Museum President Pat McCool, House of Flags Curator Robert Williamson, and Courthouse Historian John Vining presented hands-on information to students about Polk County’s history, interesting facts about the oldest courthouse in Western North Carolina, visual display and guided tour of hundreds of flags, Charters of Freedom exhibit and Veterans Park.

“Such wonderful people volunteering their time and expertise to help our students learn and experience our town’s history”, Lail said. “The kids enjoyed getting out of the classroom and meeting uniquely giving community members and searching for loved ones’ memorial bricks at Veterans Park was a highlight.”

A class survey about the field trip showed the favorite experience among students was the upclose look at the replicas of the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, etched in copper for more than 300 years of preservation.

Students also enjoyed the unique findings hidden in the walls of the courthouse and discovered more than a century later during renovations.