The life of the Oregon pioneer was the theme of Wallowa School’s annual rendezvous June 1,at the school. Students in grades kindergarten through sixth participated in weaving, making rag dolls, making butter and learning about noxious and edible plants.
The morning began with a talk by Ellen Bishop who explained the story of the creation of the Nez Perce people. Students rotated between various stations for activities.
One station, the One Room School House where the “school marm” (played by Sadie Kennedy) dressed in period costume, showed students what it was like to be in school as a pioneer child. Students wrote on slates with chalk and experienced what it was like to sit in the corner with a dunce cap on when they were naughty.
Gregory Vaughn, 12, a fifth-grader, said he didn’t really mind being the one who got in “trouble.”
Another student, Talluah April, 11, and a fourth-grader, said she, “didn’t know teachers were so strict, not like today.” She said she also didn’t know Native Americans had so many games, which she learned at the station of Angela Bombaci from the Nez Perce Interpretive Center.
Weaving and rag-doll making were especially popular. Maggie Witherup, 8, and a third grader, said “it was fun to make a rag doll, but hard at the same time.” Andrew Nordtveldt, 11 and a fifth-grader, adorned his rag doll with a parachute.
Weaving was led by Linda Bright and making rag dolls was taught by Teresa Henke. When asked about something he had learned during the event, Jose Mendez remarked on the noxious plant identification activity.
“Plants can help you,” he said, “there are some good plants to eat.” Other plants, noxious weeds in particular, are to be avoided, he learned. The plant station was led by the Tri-County Weed Manager Samantha Bernards.
Other stations this year included learning the Virginia Reel dance with music teacher Wendy Stauffer and making butter with OSU Extension Service nutrition educator Ann Bloom.
Rendezvous has been a tradition at the school for many years. It began in the early ‘80s, but lapsed for a period of time. When fifth-grade teacher Jennifer Gibbs began working at the school in 1991, she revived it.
The themes are different each year. The theme for the year is decided on by the staff, she said. If there is something special going on, then that can become the theme for the year. For example, last year’s theme revolved around the national parks to coincide with the anniversary of the National Park Service.
During the rendezvous, students are broken up into small groups of approximately 12 students. They travel in “families” of students kindergarten through sixth. The sixth-graders are the team leaders.
Students enjoyed a lunch of baked beans, hot dogs, salads, milk and ice cream bars. The day concluded with Kate Loftus of Lostine relating the story of her great-grandmother and her experiences as a pioneer.