Freedom Shrine donated to Westover H.S.

Reproductions of famous documents line a hall of Westover High School. / Allen Carter

Dozens of famous American documents now line the main hall of Westover High School. They're a donation from the part of the Exchange Club of Albany.

"We donated a Freedom Shrine, which is documents from our past that are photo reproductions of all of our documents, the bill of rights, the constitution and these type of documents," said Ray Hinman, president of the Exchange Club of Albany.

But it doesn't just include big documents, they're additional snapshots of American history, documents that some of the students may not have even heard of before.

"The surrender of Japan in World War II for instance; they have not seen these, especially in their original form," said Brian Collier, a history teacher at Westover High School.

School officials say this is much more than a donation or an art exhibit. It's a history lesson every time a student walks down the halls of the high school.

"It's important to remind our students constantly that the price of freedom was not free. It was paid for by our forefathers and every time they walk down our main hallway, they will be reminded of that," said Principal William Chunn.

The donation also comes at time of crisis in history education. Several reports have come out of late of students not knowing their history. Educators say it's a subject just as important as science or math.

"It is important because, if we don't understand where we come from, we cannot make decisions for our future in the right perspective," said Collier.

But on day one of the freedom shrine, students are taking notice.

"I've actually had several students come up to me and say, what is this particular document about? I mentioned the surrender, because they wanted to know who the individual Japanese signers were so yes it's already generated several students to have interest in that," said Collier.