Ridge School Day
Every year in Amboy, Minnesota we hold a “Day in the life of” at the historic Ridge School building. The Ridge School was painstakingly moved and restored by local volunteers and generous donors. Once a year we take our local school districts 4th grade student through a day in the life of a one room country school. I happen to be old enough to have attended one of these schools as a child so I have some idea what they were like. Most the children today have little or no concept of this type of school or education.
The Ridge School experience is vital in many ways as it gives the children of today a look back to what it was like in a simpler, perhaps more primitive time. They experience a day of education as it would have been around 1900. This includes such things as writing with quill pens, writing on a chalk board and of course the games played during recess.
Not only is this valuable for the children, but it also connects the today’s youth with a community and people from a different generation. After completion of the day each child receives a diploma stating that they completed the day in the life of the Ridge School. Our small town has no real school any longer as a result of budget cuts and school consolidation. Having graduates of Ridge School provides our community with a unique alumnus that other communities do not have.
As part of this day I always volunteer to teach a segment on American Indians. This is important to this event as the original Ridge School was built from logs in 1858. This was the year that Minnesota became a state and the American Indian were still very much a part of the landscape and culture. I like to teach this to the children as it is more like show and tell then a real history lesson, but it gives them a flavor for what it may have been like to see and interact with American Indians.
I think the most important part of this event is that a community gets out of things what they put into them. By giving these children an experience like the Ridge School days, students leave with a sense of pride and have a memory like no other to compare. If this leaves a lasting memory for just one child perhaps we have all made a difference in the world. It also leaves us with a sense of honor to our ancestors and to our community. Don’t be afraid to be the change you would like to see.