Elementary students learn about White County history

By | September 12, 2018 5:57 am

Fourth grade students eat lunch under the Farmers Market pavilion, in downtown Sparta, while they take a break from their tour of historical sites. (Photos by RIMA AUSTIN)

Sparta/White County is considered small in comparison to some of its neighboring communities until a person tries to see all of the attractions and the history behind them, which is exactly what several elementary students discovered last week when they toured numerous sites.

Angela Fresh, supervisor of elementary instruction for White County schools, stated that the school board would like to introduce students early to the history that surrounds them. White County fourth grade students participate in a city tour, while the fifth grade students take part in a county tour that focuses on the coal mining history of the area.

“We focus on the history of White County,” said Fresh. “All of this started years ago to help students in White County become familiar with our history.”

Part of the fifth grade tour involves the houses that are situated on Bon Air Mountain. Coal mining executives had homes on the Rim Rock Mesa Bluff. The students visited the Rock House and the Spearmint Cottage, on Spearmint Lane. Part of the history lesson told how miners were recruited from Scotland and Czechoslovakia, and, by 1902, more than 600 people were employed in the mines of White County.

The fourth grade students stayed within the city limits learning about the history of downtown Sparta. Part of their visit included the White County Heritage Museum, the old city cemetery on South Church Street, Oldham Theater, and White County Public Library. While at the library, Assistant Director Michael Hale, read them “The Book With No Pictures,” by B.J. Novak.

“We had a great time,” said Hale. “They just thought [the book] was hilarious. We always enjoy having them.”

According to Fresh, all White County students in the fourth and fifth grades participate in these field trips every year.

For more information about the trips, contact the White County Board of Education at (931) 836-2229.

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