Adams second grade teacher Patty Grubbs discusses a model of a one-room schoolhouse with Logan Martinez-Reed and Hillary McBroom as they prepare journals depicting life as a student 100 years ago. Second-graders across the district are participating in the “Cleburne, This is History” event which celebrates the opening of time capsules from the early 1900s including one placed in the cornerstone of the Carnegie Library in 1905.


Second-graders have been learning what life was like in Cleburne 100 years ago in preparation for “Cleburne, This is History” which begins Friday with the opening of time capsules from 1905 and 1912. A community-wide celebration is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

The students will visit the Cleburne Conference Center to view items placed in a time capsule recently removed from the cornerstone of the Carnegie Library (now the Layland Museum) and a second capsule from the Cleburne Post Office, which now serves as Cleburne City Hall. Their field trip will include presentations by local historians at four different “show and tell” stations on various aspects of Cleburne’s early days, including the railroads, the schools and the culture.

Many of the second-graders are among the Cleburne students in kindergarten through fifth-grade who have created projects relating to community history, which will be displayed throughout the two-day event. 

“We have more than 50 student projects that will be on exhibit through Saturday afternoon,” said Kathy Ferrell, elementary director of curriculum and instruction. “They have created posters, models, dioramas and journals relating to the Cleburne of the 1900s. We are very excited to have our students take part in what we think is a historic event for our community.”

Second-graders at Irving Elementary School received a preparatory history lesson from Layland Museum Educator Bettye Cook, who brought a variety of artifacts and photos to accompany her stories of Cleburne “back then.”

At Adams Elementary School, second-grade girls crafted rag dolls and the boys made a variety of games, including cardboard horseshoes for pitching, as they imagined the school days of 100 years past.

“Years ago, when you did not study, you would have to put on an ugly cone hat and stand in the corner or in front of the class,” second-grader Adrienne Light said. “I’d be embarrassed if I had to wear that cone. If the boys didn’t listen, they would have to sit with the girls.”

“When they brought their lunch, it would be in a pail. I think the teachers would have been mean, but I think the learning would have been good. I would have liked school then or now — because I like school.”

Classmate Logan Martinez-Reed was creating a journal written from the perspective of the school boy of 100 years ago.

“I ride my horse to school,” he said. “Its name is Sarge. I think it would have been nice to get to school that way. It would be fast, and you would feel a cool breeze as you rode along. They also had to write on slates, which was kind of like a chalkboard. I think I like school better now — I like having computers.”

Billy Ward said he, too, preferred the school days of today.

“I don’t think it would have been that much fun going to a one-room school,” he said. “We have playground equipment and I like buying lunch in the cafeteria. They didn’t have electricity and the boys had to wear a suit. I wouldn’t want to wear a suit every day.”

Second-grade teacher Patty Grubbs said studying about one-room school days was eye-opening for a lot of her students.

“They have enjoyed this a lot,” she said. “I don’t think some of them realized what life was like 100 years ago. This has been an unexpected lesson in comparisons for my students. Just last week we learned we were receiving a classroom set of iPads. And today we are making chalkboard slates and writing with twig pencils.”

A community-wide celebration is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the CCC.

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