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St. Henry's kids learn local history lessons

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Perham, 56573
Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

Students at St. Henry's Area School went back in time as they celebrated their annual Grandparent's Day. As part of an ongoing celebration of 125 years of Catholic education, the classes performed skits, songs, and dance from the early days of the school.

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Students shared some of the early history of the school when the first Benedictine nuns arrived in 1883. 138 sisters taught and ran the school up until 1980. At this time, Mary Thomas became the first lay person to serve in the principal position.

Students wearing original tonette band costumes from the 1940's played a song on their recorders. Students learn how to play the recorder beginning in 4th grade.

"Casey at the Bat" was read and performed by a group of 4th graders. This was written in 1888, 5 years after St. Henry's Area School began. They have been memorizing poems from such authors as Ogden Nash, Elma Stuckey, and Robert Louis Stevenson. All 20 students recited a specific poem from days gone by.

Kindergarten students sang familiar rhymes put to words relating to their grandparents. 1st graders sang a rendition of "In the Good Old Summertime" put to words that came from grandparent interviews. The students asked grandparents various questions relating to their school days. These words were then put to song.

2nd graders wrote rhymes and drew pictures, incorporating a favorite memory of grandpa and grandma. 3rd graders performed a square dance called the White Mountain Reel Dance, similar to what would have been done during the early years of the school.

Don Bernauer, alumni of the 1950's, and player on the school basketball team, taught the 5th graders the school song. They in turn taught and led the song on Grandparent's Day. The boys donned basketball gear and the girls cheerleader outfits, similar to what was worn 58 years ago.

The program concluded with a hand bell performance by the 6th graders entitled "Those Evening Bells" from the Golden Songbook of 1915.

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