MENU
component-ddb-728x90-v1-01-desktop

'11 going on 25': Asheville kid makes documentary about Haw Creek School History

An 11-year-old's new documentary looks back at 170 years of history at Haw Creek School. In the last year, Chase Willis-Johnson's done extensive research and interviewed everyone from past students to the current principal for a documentary about the school's past. (Photo credit: Buncombe County Schools)

An 11-year-old's new documentary looks back at 170 years of history at Haw Creek School.

In the last year, Chase Willis-Johnson's done extensive research and interviewed everyone from past students to the current principal.

"I am 11 going on 12," Chase explained.

At a setting that cultivates growing great minds, News 13 heard the voice of maturity from the mouth of a kid.

"I'm not sure his age but it should be 25!" said Bob Jolly, who was a student at Haw Creek School back in the 1950s.

When we met him, the child was wearing a suit and tie for the interview.

"I'm in fifth," Willis-Johnson said, referring to his grade level.

He insisted on pleading the fifth as he sat down with Jolly on a fact finding mission.

"My dad went to school there in the '40s," Jolly told him.

Peering through his iPad, he wanted to know more about Haw Creek Elementary's past.

"What was it like going to school in the building? And life in general?" Chase asked.

"Values meant an awful lot to the students there," Jolly answered. "Truth meant a lot to the people there."

Keep in mind, Chase was born in 2005, but we all know age is just a number.

"I'm a history buff myself," he said. "So, from there, it blossomed out to finding people like Mr. Jolly."

Over the years, Haw Creek's been at several different sites but Chase said the spirit of the community has been a constant.

One awkward exchange with Mr. Jolly led to a priceless moment of levity.

That's when Chase asked, "Do you know any people still living with you that are still..."

"Living?" Jolly responded.

Both got a good laugh out of that. Simple moments that bridged the generation gap.

"We still have a lot of people in this community that went to that school," Jolly explained.

"When you get an opportunity to spend time with a young man like Chase, it's very rewarding," he said. "It was obvious that he knew more than most people about the history,"

Chase also interviewed Principal Jay Dale to find out more about the school as it is today.

"Any knowledge I can get is always good," Chase said.

"This is the drone footage of Bethesda United Methodist," he said, pointing to the screen. "And the stone, there it is!"

A marker at the church grave yard's significant.

"On this half acre, stood the first Haw Creek School and Bethesda Church built in 1848."

So much is different than it was 170 years ago.

"Well, I mean, Haw Creek's even changed since the '90s," the young man observed.

Thanks to the history project, Chase has given the people he interviewed confidence that the future's in great hands.

"Enlightening that we have young men like this coming along," Jolly said.

Trending