Every November, Gardner School celebrates the one room school houses that use to exist in Huerfano County. Malachite, Redwing, and Chama are just a few of the schools represented. Gardner School, which teaches PreK through 8th grade divides itself up into the 6 or 8 schools. They are populated by families instead. So, one school might have three Vigils, two Thomas’ and six Cordovas of mixed ages.
Each year there is a theme as well. This year’s theme was the Ludlow Massacre and Mine. The entire state is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Coal mine War which started in September 1913 and had a ‘high point’ with the Ludlow Massacre in April 1913. Our local newspaper, the Huerfano Journal has been running a series of articles about the Ludlow Massacre.
The front door of the school was covered in paper to recreate the coal mine. The students were miners or ranchers and many of them dressed up. A local historian, Carolyn Newman came out and gave a presentation as Mother Jones. At lunch time, a thanksgiving dinner was served. They had a contest to build the best supports for the mine and below are pictures of that contest. I thought it was very brave of Mr. Purnell, the principal to be the “Sheriff”, as the sheriff of that time period was not a well liked man.
At the end of the day, they got in a big circle, or as Cathy Cordova, a teacher said… “We are one big Family.” Then they called out a series of names. All of the people who died during the massacre. As each name was read, a child stood up and moved to the center. Many of the students were surprised at how young some of the victims were. It gave the students some perspective on the event.
And as is usual for this time of year and the day an event is held at Gardner, it began to snow. We’ve had at least 8 inches fall, and the temperatures have been very cold. I was very happy to have a load of firewood delivered this morning!