Southeast Kansas students travel back in time for annual Cato Kids Day celebration

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Fourth and fifth graders leave the classroom and learn about pioneer life in a hands-on experience.

“It’s a really good thing to learn around, to experience something new that you haven’t seen before,” explained fifth grader Thannya Garcia.

Garcia is a 5th grader at Lakeside Elementary School in Pittsburg. She and others toured Cato for Kids’ Day.

“I also learned on what kinds of things they used back then and how the wagons worked,” Garcia added.

Hosted by the Cato Historical Preservation Association, students saw pioneer and Civil War reenactors. They learned about how the Civil War and border wars affected pioneer children in Southeast Kansas.

“To be able to see, hear, touch and smell excited in them a passion for understanding history a little bit better,” explained reenactor Matthew Wells.

Students were able to get a better chance of retaining history by participating in acitivities rather than reading a textbook. They did this by playing outdoor games played by pioneer children and touring the 150-year-old Cato schoolhouse.

“My hope is that just a few of those children will walk away from here knowing one thing that they didn’t know before and maybe ignite one of them a desire to continue to educate themselves a little bit more,” said Wells.

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