– Participants in the Exeter-Milligan second grade pioneer school day are pictured in front of the one room school house where they did their lessons. In the front row from the left are Peyton Pribyl, Casey Underwood, Alec Schlueter, Les Vilda, Kole Svec, Braden Capek and Ben Bartu. Second row from the left are Cameran Jansky, Alivia Hartmann, Katelyn Babula, Emma Olsen, Briana Capek, Wesley Ronne, Becca Krupicka, Chris Kelch and Mikey Bartu. Back row from the left are Marla Weber, Laura Stueben, Carol Capek and Leesa Bartu.
It felt like time turned backwards for the Exeter-Milligan second graders as they experienced life as a pioneer days student last week.
The fourteen students participated in a pioneer school day event at the Saline County Historical Society Museum in Dorchester.
Marla Weber, the second graders teacher has held the event for a number of years using the grounds at the museum as her setting. Museum board members have begun to add more experiences to the day to help the children understand their forefathers lifestyles more completely.
Prior to the event the students studied the pioneer life and learned what it would have been like for children growing up in the frontier.
Their pioneer school day started with lessons in a one room schoolhouse. Each student was called forward by their pioneer name to recite to their teacher and they learned to stand when they asked a question along with the protocol for entering and leaving the classroom.
For recess they played some of the games that were played in the days of the one room schoolhouse such as drop the handkerchief. When it was time for lunch the students along with teachers and helpers brought out their baskets and lunch pails to each lunches that were similar to those eaten by children long ago. They brought bread, cheese and fruit or cookies to eat with lemonade to drink out of pint glass jars.
Throughout the day the children had the opportunity to explore the museum grounds, seeing some of the special exhibits including an original log cabin home as well as an entire building of farm machinery and equipment.
Students had the opportunity to make rope with Les Vilda who also spoke to the students at the end of the day about his experiences living and traveling like an early pioneer.
In the afternoon students were divided into groups and experienced different pioneer life sustaining essentials. They learned to wash clothes with Judy Lorenz, a Salic County Historical Society Board Member and made butter with Carol Capek and Mari Ann Placek who also serves on the Historical Society Board. The students learned to carve soap with student teacher Laura Stueben and made dipped candles with Leesa Bartu.
In the machinery building Roger Placek and Eric Placek helped the second graders use a corn sheller and then took the corn and planted in using a hand planter. They also got to run the siren on an old fire engine and explore the other pieces of machinery in the building.
Leonard Stehlik stopped by the museum with a lamb for the students to meet and taught them about sheep shearing and it’s important role in pioneer days.
At the end of the day the students thanked the Saline County Historical Society Board and members for volunteering their time and their facility for a truly special day.