Three classes at Brownstown Central High School collaborated on four wooden decorations to help the town, county and state celebrate 200 years.

Agriculture teacher Blake Hackman was asked by the Bicentennial Planning Committee of Jackson County to make a large wooden 2 and two 0s, each 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide.

For the Brownstown Greenhouse, they made a 3-foot-by-5-foot wooden flower box and a small wooden cutout of a bison and refinished the wooden handles of an old plow.

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The numbers will be displayed at bicentennial events throughout the year, and the other items will be at Brownstown Greenhouse along Main Street. Jackson County’s bicentennial was Jan. 1, Brownstown’s is today and Indiana’s is Dec. 11.

Hackman said he decided to have his plant and soil science, introduction to agriculture and agriculture mechanics classes involved because he felt the school needed to do something for the bicentennials. That included about 40 students.

“It’s only once you get the 200-year anniversary,” he said. “Also, I always stress community service because once you get these students involved, they become a part of the community, they return to the community, you take more pride in the community. The community can only get better because of that, and they are taking ownership of it.”

With the large wooden numbers, sophomores Austin Branaman and Tucker O’Neill took the three sheets of plywood and used a jigsaw to cut them out and a sander to smooth the sides.

The next step was to paint them, and students used red, white and blue paint to make stripes and stars. That theme was based on the bicentennial committee’s advertising posters. The back of the numbers and the edges were painted black.

“It’s pretty neat coming in here and just seeing what the other classes have done,” Branaman said. “We quit one day just having all of them cut out, and the next day, they are partially painted. It’s pretty cool to see it all come together.”

O’Neill said it was good to see the three classes come together to make the large numbers.

“It was fun,” he said. “They look good. It’s cool how everybody does everything and it turns out good, better than it would if you did it all yourself.”

Branaman said he is excited to know a project he helped with will be seen by many people.

“It’s just neat to know that you are a part of the bicentennial and a part of Jackson County,” he said. “It’s pretty neat to know that you had something to do with it.”

Freshman Alex Caffee was among the students who helped paint the three numbers.

“The part that took the longest was painting around the stars because we didn’t want to get (paint on) those,” she said.

Caffee said it was the perfect project for her because she likes painting and using her creativity.

“It made me feel good to help. It was a group effort,” she said. “They are going to be out there, so as long as it looks OK, it’s going to be good.

With the wooden flower box, Wayne Gilbert with Brownstown Greenhouse drew out the concept on cardboard pieces to give the students an idea of what he wanted.

The top of the box has cutouts of 200 where Gilbert will place marigolds. The students painted the outside of the box blue and used yellow paint to write “Indiana” along the bottom. Those colors go along with the state flag.

Sophomore Matt Stuckwisch said another class made the flower box frame, and he and fellow sophomore Dylan Cockerham put hinges on the bottom. Other classmates did the painting.

“It’s pretty neat starting out when you just see all of the pieces laid out already cut out and made,” Stuckwisch said. “The best part, I think, about it is when it all comes together and you finally get to see the project starting to form.”

Stuckwisch liked the finished product.

“It seemed like a pretty neat concept,” he said. “Until we actually put it together, I didn’t know how it would turn out. But we did get it put together, and it’s pretty nice.”

Cockerham said being a part of the project was fun because he likes doing hands-on work.

“I thought it was a good idea,” he said. “As long as a lot of people see it, it will be nice to be a part of.”

Sophomore Bryce Bowman helped paint the sides of the flower box black. He also liked how the box turned out.

“I like seeing it come alive and giving back a little bit,” he said. “I like to see us helping out.”

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Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at or 812-523-7080.