Students go old school at Wilno Heritage Museum

WILNO – Although it was the way of life 100 years ago, it was a first for St. Mary’s students.

On May 17, students from the Wilno elementary school travelled to the Polish Kashub Heritage Museum for a first-hand experience living as a pioneer in the year 1896.

For four hours, students cycled through three workshops, including one at the farmhouse, another in the schoolhouse and the final one at the blacksmith shop.

They learned a variety of lessons, including the responsibilities of a blacksmith. They listened to organizer of the event, Carol Sulpher speak about how blacksmiths made farm tools, household items and building materials.

Over at the schoolhouse, Bernadette Dudack gave students lessons similar to the ones they would have learned more than 100 years ago. Before children would enter the one-room schoolhouse, the students would be given a visual health inspection. The teacher would go over the children’s ears, hair, hands, nails, neck and teeth to make sure they are clean and healthy looking. Students then learned mental arithmetic, spelling and Kashubian language learning as well.

The museum’s classroom was equipped with authentic school desks from a former one-room schoolhouse in Wilno. There was even a school bell and authentic teacher’s desk on site as well.

Over at the farmhouse, children were given a hands-on lesson of pioneer living. The farmhouse used to be owned by Joseph and Catherine Burchat, parents of Catherine Burchat. Students learned the history of a young Catherine, who moved with her parents from West Prussia and grew up in Wilno.

They learned some of the chores Catherine and her siblings would be responsible for, like gathering firewood or collecting eggs.

Get your June 24, 2015 edition of The Valley Gazette to read the full story.