Fleming Students Go Back In Time posted on Jun 11, 2012
Courtesy of WCAX:
ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. -
Inside the Thomas Fleming School in Essex Junction, a unique history lesson is under way.
Roll call is being taken on this virtual field trip. Instead of reading text books, students dressed the part of 1912; the year the school first opened.
“These clothes are a lot more fancy. Our ordinary clothes in 2012 are just shorts and T-shirts, not dresses, long socks and boots,” said Sarah Coulter, a student.
“It’s actually really fun because we get to experience what it was like in 1912,” student Santhosh Rajendran said.
Teachers also took a different approach to their teaching style. They say it was much more formal 100 years ago; more focused on etiquette, politeness and respect.
“When I look at it, I don’t think I would have done so well in the 1912 time frame. Knowing what I know now and how I feel about children and how they learn,” teacher Donna Burnette said.
“It’s been kind of hard,” student Myiah Ducharme said. “You can’t ask questions or anything like that, so if you need to go the bathroom, you have to wait.”
Kids felt the environment was much more strict. Others struggled with the lessons, like handwriting. Student Drew Riester had problems with handwriting. He’s left handed, but back in 1912 using your left hand was not allowed.
“It’s hard because if I write left handed I will get in trouble because it is a sign of the devil,” Riester said.
As part of the 100-year celebration, the school is rededicating the building to the man it is named after– former longtime custodian Thomas Fleming.
“He was always here,” principal Day Ryan said. “He never missed a day of work.”
Fleming was the man responsible for keeping the building clean from 1944 to 1967, forming special relationships with hundreds of students and staff along the way. The school was named after him in 1973.
“He really tried to maintain a high quality school building,” Ryan said. “In fact, he lived in a house right across the street, so he was never really off the clock.”
A virtual field trip back in time for these students, learning 100 years of history.
“I think it was a good learning experience and something they will remember,” Burnette said.
The school will host an open house Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. so alumni can visit the school and see how it has changed.