Midway Legend Returns Dec07

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Midway Legend Returns

Dressed from head to toe in Native American war regalia, David Vardeman excitedly shares his collection of artifacts to all who are curious. This retired English teacher has become an icon at Midway ISD.

“Most boys collected baseball cards or coins, but me, I was interested in Native Americans,” Vardeman said, when asked why he was collecting. “I was fascinated back when I was growing up with Indian and Western shows. I realized how neat that stuff was and realized I wanted some for myself.”

A vest made of leather hide, a beaded bear claw necklace and an ornate warrior headdress made with authentic bird feathers are among his unique collection. It contains authentic pieces owned and is created by the natives of North America. The collection itself though, doesn’t amount to the collector.

Vardeman worked for Midway ISD more than 40 years. He has returned in recent years to aid seventh-grade teachers in bringing the history of the Plains Native Americans to life.

“We are getting to see artifacts and tools we actually study in class,” said Keturah Wineinger, 7th-grade history teacher. “This is a great benefit of Mr. Vardeman coming to our class.”

Students eagerly quizzed him to learn more about his collection. Questions ranged from his favorite piece to asking to play the war drum. He gave students the opportunity to try on the prized war headdresses. Those lucky enough to be chosen beam with pride as they stand in front of their classmates wearing his massive headdress.

Vardeman exemplifies the qualities of Midway ISD, placing value and worth in students and teachers. He truly cares about education and wants others to have an exceptional experience in learning.

“Everyone that knows him loves him,” said Suzi Pagel, Midway ISD Education Foundation Executive Director.

By Erin Mitchell