PERRY, OKLAHOMA — A wooden bridge and a school bell show the way through history in Perry.
On one side these kids are 4th graders at Roosevelt Elementary in Ponca City.
On the other they are students at Rose Hill School where ‘wrap’ means winter coat and where the calendar year is always the same.
“It is indeed December 13th, 1910,” instructs their teacher for the day Cindy Rupp. “We hope that they live it and not just have to read about it.”
Rose Hill started as a school in 1895 five miles north of Perry.
It was built for $200.00.
For more than fifty years after that kids attended school in this one room to learn the basics through the 8th grade.
The school building moved to Perry in the 1970′s.
Beginning in 1988, primary students of Oklahoma history came here, one day at a time, to learn it first hand.
“It’s an amazing bunch of information,” says Rupp of state history.
Rupp herself has been here 13 of those years playing the role of stern teacher.
“I get my bluff in early when we set the rules for the day,” she chuckles.
She comes off, at first, like a cruel taskmaster, but her students eventually figure out she’s just pretending.
“I have a stick,” she laughs, “but I never use it.”
Their regular 4th grade teacher is Casey Wilson, who was a field trip student herself at Rose Hill, never realizing that she’d be back.
“It never occurred to me that I would be back here as a teacher with my own students to make these same memories that I made as a 4th grader.”
They spend the day in 1910 learning the ’3 R’s’ and exploring the early 20th Century in ways they could never attempt in books.
“It was okay,” says one boy at recess. “Just okay?” asks another visitor. “Yeah,” he replies. “I thought it was really fun,” says another 4th grade boy.
For a quarter century it’s been 1910 on this side of the wooden bridge.
It’s nice to know some things never change.
One 4th grade girl muses, “I’ll probably remember this the rest of my life.”
The Rose Hill School is located at the Perry Historical Society Museum.
Rose HIll hosts field trips for Oklahoma history students throughout the school year.