BASD: Students celebrate Bethlehem Steel legacies
As time continues to pass, the legacy of the Bethlehem Steel is still running strongly in the blood of many Lehigh Valley families. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the closing of the Bethlehem Steel coke works, one of the final pieces of Bethlehem Steel to meet its demise. Most Lehigh Valley residents that are baby boomers or generation X-ers either worked at the steel or have memories of their parents and grandparents working there.
For millennials and younger, the steel property is far from a booming industrial property, shadowed by abandoned buildings, a casino, a concert venue, and more. To keep the memory of the Steel alive through its aging legacy, the Steelworkers Archive engages local students to explore the rich history of the company through art and poetry.
For the 2018 contest, students at Bethlehem middle schools were offered the opportunity to write a poem about the Steel, and High School students were offered a photography contest. At the May 14th Special school board Steelworkers Archive President Joe Mayer and Board Member Dennis Pearson went before the board recognize the winners of the contest.
One by one, Julia Medaska (3rd place), Lillian Hubbard (2nd place) and Chloe Moschberger (1st place) were invited to the podium and read their poems out loud. Julia and Lillian spoke about memories passed down from their grandparents, and the importance of women in steel working, Bethlehem’s role in World War II, and the tremendous number of buildings around the country built with Bethlehem steel.
First place winner Chloe took a different perspective and wrote her poem from the perspective of a former employee who was haunted by the memory of the steel and struggling to cope with letting go and moving on. For the high school contest, Georgia Giannaras displayed her photographs and spoke about the importance of her grandfather, who came from Greece, and worked at the steel to support his family. Each student was honored with a certificate and a cash prize for their amazing efforts.