West Elementary School takes field trip into the past

       A West Elementary kindergarten's field trip to the Old Colorado City History Center was happily received recently… even if there were a couple of “accidents” during the visit.

While teacher Marty Wilshusen (background) supervises, historically clad Kathy McBride shows kindergarteners Moises Ortiz (red shirt) and Jacob Suddarth how to squeeze orange juice the old-fashioned way during their class' visit to the Old Colorado City History Center.
Westside Pioneer photo

       “I think it went really well,” said West teacher Marty Wilshusen. “It was a good experience. Most of the students hadn't been to a museum before.”
       The History Center, owned and operated by the volunteer Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS), handles a number of large groups, but seldom of such a young age. Still, the possibility has been open to area schools for a number of years. “We're looking for that neighborhood bond,” said Kathy McBride, who's in charge of tours for the OCCHS, although she added, “I don't think we'd tell schools to load up the school bus and bring a lot of people over.”
       For the occasion, she dressed in 1800s style apparel, along with fellow volunteers Barbara Barbaro and Kay Atteberry. They set up stations to provide brierf introductions into different aspect of historical life. Wilshusen broke her class up into smaller groups for that purpose. A popular stop was McBride's orange-juice squeezer, the results of which the children happily sampled.
       The kids also got to ring the church bell, which Wilshusen compared with the school bell from olden days when such sounds were signals for activities getting started.
       The visit was inspired by Wilshusen's recent teaching themes of community and neighborhood. “We're getting kids to understand what these mean and to make those connections,” she said.
       Adding to the experience, the students, with parent volunteers assisting, walked the four blocks from the school at 25 N. 20th St. to the center at 1 S. 24th St.
       A past connection helped lead to the visit. Marty Wilshusen's husband Mike was once a student of McBride's, during her 30 years teaching at Holmes (ending in 2006).

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