Although area fourth-graders got the opportunity to venture outside of their regular school buildings, they still had to spend time in an unfamiliar type of classroom at May Museum on Wednesday.
“It’s like we’re going back to school,” one North Bend fourth-grader said as her group walked into the basement of the May Museum on Nye Avenue.
Instead of dry erase boards, plastic chairs and laptops found in classrooms in 2018, the May Museum country school classroom gave today’s students a look at what it might have been like to attend class in a one-room country schoolhouse.
“I had 13 students and so you would have kindergartners through eight-graders all in this room, so all of your brothers and sisters would have been right here with you,” Jane Petersen, who taught in country schools in Dodge County from 1954-71, said during her presentation.
Along with getting to experience a country school atmosphere, students had the opportunity to visit eight areas throughout the museum including a cabin, kitchen, and general store from the late 1880s as part of the annual “A Day in the Past” presentations at the local museum.
Peterson gave students a look at old Karo Syrup metal containers commonly used as lunch pails at country schools, and told them about her time as a country school teacher — including a practice rarely seen today known as “boarding the teacher.”
“I would actually live with my students and their parents for six weeks at a time,” she said. “They wanted the teacher to actually live in the district and another little catch to it was after supper I would sit down and help you and all of your brothers and sisters with homework. So when you went to school the next day your homework was done and you knew it was right.”
Before getting to experience a 20th century country school classroom, students also ventured outside of the actual May Museum into a 19th century cabin on the back of the property.
In the 1860s era replica cabin, students learned about various tools and products used by Dodge County settlers and pioneers through a presentation from Museum Director Jeff Kappeler.
“I would like to welcome you to my home today, my name is Mr. William Thompson and I came out here to Nebraska Territory in the year 1856 and I’ve lived here for two years,” Kappeler told students while in character as a Nebraska Territory settler. “When I came out here there are some things I use on the trail and I wonder if you can tell me what you think these might be.”
Kappeler told students about the importance of oxen to early settlers and showed them oxen yokes, shoes, and a scythe for cutting grass to feed oxen, among other 19th century tools.
He also showed students a primitive version of a tool still widely used today.
When asked what they thought the tool was, students thought the object may be a meat or vegetable grinder, but in fact it was used to make everyone’s favorite breakfast beverage: coffee.
“This is a very old, unusual coffee grinder. It dates from the 1840s,” he told the students. “This is something else that I used on the trail. This was screwed to the side of my covered wagon when I came west. What I would do is I would take this and I would put coffee beans in here and I would grind the coffee into my coffee pot, then I would put it back on the campfire and I would have coffee in the morning.”
Back inside the museum, students learned about products and customs related to 19th century kitchens from Kerstin O’Connor.
She gave students a tour of the kitchen inside the historic Nye House including lessons on baking, churning butter and how people of that time kept and used ice.
She even related her presentation about methods of storing and collecting ice to a popular Disney movie of today.
“How many of you have seen the movie ‘Frozen’? Where did they get the ice in the movie?” she asked. “They got it from the river and that was the same process used here. They got it from maybe even the Platte River and from lakes and then took it to a dark, cool area to store it.”
May Museum’s annual “A Day in the Past” presentations were held on Monday and Wednesday with more than 400 area students attending during the two-day event.
The May Museum will be open to the public beginning in late April through late December.
Hours are 1:30-4:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. The last tour for the day begins at 3:30 p.m. The museum is closed on Sundays and holidays.
Admission is $5 for adults, $1 for students, 5-years-old and younger are free.
For more information call 402-721-4515, or visit the museum’s website at maymuseum.com.
You don’t have to saddle a horse to trot over to the next Pathfinder Chorus show.
The internationally recognized men’s a cappella group will perform in its annual spring show at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Performances will take place in the Nell McPherson Theatre at Fremont High School, 1750 N. Lincoln Ave.
Tickets cost $15 each and may be purchased online at http://www.pathfinderchorus.org or by calling Ken at 402-677-3426 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at the door. The public is invited.
The spring concert is the group’s largest and the main fundraising performance of the year. Proceeds help keep the chorus growing and able to perform at other events.
About 65 men are expected to perform in the group’s 45th annual spring show, which this year is called “Sing-Out at the OK Chorale.”
“We’re doing a bit of a western theme this year,” said Steve Slykhuis, master of ceremonies.
Songs will include: “On My Way,” from the musical Paint Your Wagon, “Blue Shadows on the Trail,” “Texas Medley” and “Happy Trails.”
The chorus also will perform more traditional-style concert selections, including one it will sing at international competition in July in Orlando, Florida.
In addition, the show will feature the chorus’ trademark humor, Slykhuis said.
The featured guest quartet, which was the 2017 International silver medalist, is called “Signature.”
“They’re an incredible quartet that placed second at the international competition last year,” Slykhuis said. “They sing with incredible artistry and emotion. One of the songs they sang at international had their lead singer crying along with most of the audience. He sang a tribute to his father, who had passed away.”
Slykhuis encourages area residents to attend the show.
“Life’s very busy for people and can contain a lot of stress. This is a night that’s guaranteed to give you laughs, give you chills and fill your heart joy that only music can provide,” Slykhuis said. “It’s a chance to see a top-20-ranked international chorus here in Fremont and experience the uniquely American artform of four-part, a cappella, barbershop harmony.”
Arlington middle school students taking a class called “Exploring Business” recently won several awards from the Nebraska Council on Economic Education celebrating their business acumen.
Eighth-grader Gabbi Anzalone won first place in the statewide InvestWrite Stock Market Essay Contest and a team of middle school students Mackenzie O’Flaherty, Bailey Bracht, Grant Staats and Lucas O’Daniel took third place in the Nebraska Economics Challenge.
In the “Exploring Business” class, students participate in the stock market game, which is part of the Nebraska Council on Economic Education. Teams of students are given $100,000 in virtual cash that they invest in groups as part of a statewide competition. There is an accompanying essay contest, according to Arlington business teacher Shawna Koger.
The essay contest required students to write about how they would create a portfolio for a non-profit organization, Koger said. Anzalone wrote her essay in November and it was announced on Wednesday that she had won.
“She chose the Girl Scouts to be her non-profit organization, because she’s in Girl Scouts,” Koger said. “She had to write what kind of things they would invest in to make them grow their assets and be able to do more good with their non-profit.
Anzalone discovered that she won during a surprise party that was held at the school with her class on Wednesday, where students got cookies and Anzalone was awarded with a check for $50 from the Nebraska Council on Economic Education.
“They were very excited for the cookies,” Koger said.
The other four students were part of an Economics Challenge Team. These students each took an individual test on general economics concepts and competed against other middle school students. Their scores were averaged together, and as a team, they finished third in the state.
The contest netted each of them with a $10 cash prize.
The Exploring Business class is a “very practical class” meant to introduce students to business and finance, Koger said.
“It’s just a way to spark their interest about being productive members of their economy,” Koger said.
Koger said she has a team that’s in first place in the Stock Market Game in her class, though that competition won’t be complete for another two weeks.