CANTON - Eighth grade students at Canton Area Junior-Senior High School recently shared history lessons of their own with the community.

This week, the students made their living history presentations in the auditorium lobby. They set up displays about their projects.

Lisa Cole, who teaches American history, said there were 60 living history projects.

The students picked someone they knew, and then profiled the person for their project. They also noted how historical events, developments in science or technology, and progress affected the person throughout their life.

James Bowman, 14, of Canton, chose his father, John D. Bowman III, as the focus of his living history project.

"He had a big impact on my life," James commented, noting how his father coached him in sports.

John is no stranger to the high school, where he teaches chemistry.

John, who also has experience as a firefighter and an EMT, was there when his son was born on Feb. 23, 1999 in the hospital at Sayre, but he took a more active role than most parents.

"This was memorable for me, since I delivered him," John wrote.

He wrote, "the nurse came in and said that the elevators were out, and the doctor and intern were on the first floor coming up the stairs; we were on seven. While the nurse was preparing the room, she asked if I knew how to put on exam gloves, and I said, 'yes, I am an EMT.' She said, 'you know what to do, get it done.' Next thing I know, I have my son's head in my hand."

"I didn't know he was capable of that," Cole commented, noting this was just one piece of information that she learned from the students' living history presentations.

James' living history display featured his dad's firefighter helmet. John is a former assistant chief with the Canton Volunteer Fire Department, and is in the Endless Mountains Wildfire Crew, which is a support crew for the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). He and the other members of the crew fight forest fires.

When asked why he is involved with the organization, John said, "there is a need in the state of Pennsylvania not only for volunteer firemen, but also support crew for forest fires in Pennsylvania."

In Bradford County, the crew includes volunteers from Herrickville, Wyalusing, Towanda, Athens, Sayre, and Canton.

John recalled a large fire in Mountain Top, in which the crew responded at 7 p.m. and worked until 9 a.m.

He said firefighters in the crew must have physical endurance.

"You use muscles you never even know you had."

Western Bradford Notebook is an occasional feature focusing on the Troy-Canton area and surrounding communities in western Bradford County. If you have a story idea for this feature, contact staff writer Eric Hrin at (570) 297-5251; email: