Eagle, Nebraska

October 8, 2004


Photos and text by Mr. Gregg Culver


    Eagle Fourth Grade students held their annual Heritage Festival Day
on Friday, October 8, 2004.  It was actually the tenth anniversary of
the fourth graders celebration of Nebraska's pioneer heritage.  Students
got to experience many different aspects of the life pioneer children
had in the 1800s.
    There were three centers in the morning.  The students from three
different classrooms rotated every 55 minutes between each center.  The
centers were:  Life on the Trail, Spinning Wool, and Candle-making. 
Each center provided students with different experiences to enrich their
understanding of life in Nebraska in pioneer times.
    At the Life on the Trail Center, Les Vilda, sponsored by the
Nebraska Humanities Council, shared his real life experiences of
traveling on the Sante Fe Trail.  Mr. Vilda dresses the part and has
many of the true-to-the-time period equipment and foods.  He tells
students how things were done on the trail and why they were done that
way.  The students were very interested in learning about Mr. Vilda's
expeditions on the trail.
The Spinning Wool Center was run by one of our parents and her
daughter.   This parent  has been running this center for us the last 5
years.  In this center students learn how wool is removed from sheep and
then made into yarn.  Students get to make their own yarn bracelets. 
Students had a great time with the process of making yarn.

    At the Candle-making Center, run by one of our past parents,
students learn why children had to make candles.  They also learn how
candles were made in pioneer times.  After the information is shared
then students get to make two different kinds of candles.  First, they
got to make dip candles, which are the most common candles that pioneers
made.  Then they got to make a mold candle.  Molds were made from
cleaned out juice and lemonade cans.    Students used crayon shavings to
add color to their mold candles.  Students really enjoyed making both
candles.  They were excited to get to take them home and share them with
their parents.
After the morning centers we ate lunch and played some pioneer
games.  Students were encouraged to bring authentic pioneer lunches. 
They were given large fruit cans from our kitchen to use as lunch
pails.  After lunches were eaten then the games began.  First, was the
annual egg-toss, in which real eggs are used.  Students had a ball doing
this!  Next came games of "Button, Button", "Drop the Hanky", and
"One-legged" relay races.
    To end the day Chris Sayre played pioneer music with authentic
pioneer instruments and sang pioneer songs.  He played everything from a
banjo to a saw.  The students loved to watch him play the instruments
and enjoyed singing along with him.
It was a great climax to a very educational day.