Middle-schoolers explore folk heritage

BY LENA MITCHELL

Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

CORINTH – Not every fifth-grader can put goat-milking experience on their resume, but Kossuth Middle School students Lexus Null, Porsha Burdette and Sayde Turner can.

They were among the hundreds from Corinth and Alcorn County school districts who spent part of their day Friday at the Verandah-Curlee House Museum learning about American folk heritage.

Students observed crafters throwing clay pottery, ironmaking, weaving wool, working on needlecrafts, making jewelry, drawing and generally using many age-old methods to produce staples commonly purchased from stores today.

“I like learning about the cultural environment around us,” 10-year-old Lexus said.

Watching Native Americans ply their crafts reinforced what they're studying in the classroom about Native American tribes, said Sayde, 11.

Trips into the field like this one help children understand the broader environment around them, said Kossuth fifth-grade teacher Clarissa Mills.

“Some of the children are never exposed to these different cultural events – honey-making, pottery making, music, so many things,” Mills said. “This is only my third year to teach and I'm still enjoying it all myself.”

Twelve-year-old Allison Essary said the experience was fun.

“It makes it easier in history for me, learning some mapping skills because we have to follow the map to find all these things,” she said.

Bringing together all county school children in fourth-sixth grades for a folk heritage festival is a project of Corinth's LINK group, a national healthy communities, healthy youth initiative. Employees of Kimberly-Clark in Corinth help LINK plan the undertaking in its third year, said LINK chairwoman Barbara Barrett.

“The program begins with all the students in the Coliseum Civic Center for a program of history, architecture and heritage music,” Barrett said.

Other activities the students experienced:

n Environmental educator Kate Friedman introduced fourth-graders to Opal the opossum; Simpleton the rat; Debbie the skunk; a corn snake and a kestrel falcon.

n Friedman, of Strawberry Plains Audubon Center in Holly Springs, explained the concept of habitat – food, water, shelter and space – as she talked about where her animal friends live, what they eat, how they survive.

n Mississippi State University staff member Judith Ward and retiree Bobbie Ann McCullin demonstrated making butter.

n Alcorn County Schools academic coach Tim Cannon presented a wide variety of music genres and instruments: fiddle, banjo, guitar, harp, piano, mandolin and others.

n Fifth-graders toured Verandah-Curlee House and explored crafts on the grounds, while about 20 teams of sixth-graders participated in an architectural scavenger hunt in Historic Downtown Corinth.

Contact Lena Mitchell at 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com