Fourth graders at SCES celebrate ‘Pioneer Day’ with demonstrators


The fourth grade students at Switzerland County Elementary School celebrated “Pioneer Day” on Wednesday, May 14th. Members of the community came and shared their time, talents, and treasures with the students.

Among those making presentations included:

– Cynthia Griffith brought information about James Whitcomb Riley, the ‘Hoosier Poet’.

– Lisa Fisher told students about the Schenck Mansion.

– Bill and Stasia Wiseman demonstrated pioneer musical instruments.

– Deb Allen attended the event as Mary Wright, who had the first piano in the State of Indiana.

She played classical music; and her piano is housed at the Switzerland County Historical Museum.

– Wilma Lohide spoke about New Liberty Baptist Church and the role it played in the Underground Railroad.

– Anita Danner talked with the students about the Thiebaud Farmstead and that family’s significance in Switzerland County history.

– Bob and Ana Slover shared their knowledge of early tools and weapons that pioneer hunters would have used.

– Rob Banta spoke with the students about the Pony Express and its significance in history.

– The afternoon session found the students engrossed in a presentation given by Helen Parks, who portrayed Rachael Pickett, matriarch of the Heathcoat Pickett family – the first family to settle in Switzerland County.

Students filled out graphic organizers regarding the day’s activities. The year-ending activity exemplified that learning can be fun.


Kevin Stonerock from Knightstown, Indiana, recently visited students and portrayed Andrew Amanet, a pioneer fur trapper.

Students also attending Ag Day at the Switzerland County Fairgrounds on Tuesday, May 20th.

The agriculture-related event was sponsored by Purdue Extension and Switzerland County Farm Bureau, Inc., with the help of Switzerland County Soil and Water Conservation District; the Switzerland County Animal Shelter; Switzerland County Extension Homemakers; Dornbusch’s poultry; Furnish’s dairy and sheep; Thornton’s Motorcycle Sales; Thieman’s swine; the Indiana Department of Natural Resources; and Abbott’s rabbits.

The students will also be traveling to Farmer’s Retreat on Wednesday, June 4th, for a one-room schoolhouse experience.

– Peggy Eckerty