Third Graders Study Edgewater History

Vol. XVII No. 1 - SPRING 2006

The third graders of the Northside Catholic Academy at the St. Gertrude’s campus have been learning about Edgewater history under the direction of Gail Smith for the past 15 years. The special program has been developed with the help of the Edgewater Historical Society and Kathy Gemperle.

The students begin with a written history of the area that was created by Mrs. Gemperle as a report for the Edgewater oral history project in 1988. From this they make a time line. After a bus tour of the area they worked both individually and in groups to produce a model of the community.

One of the stops on the tour is the Edgewater Historical Society Museum. At the museum President Betty Mayian spoke to the children about community history and what can be found at the museum.

The model of the community, which is constructed largely of paper, is put on display in the cafeteria of the school during Catholic Schools week in February. The students also enjoy a slide program about Edgewater which Mrs. Gemperle brings to their classroom. “This has always been a lot of fun!” says Mrs. Gemperle. “It is a delight to show the picture of, the man who named and developed Edgewater in the 1880s and hear a chorus of “That’s John Lewis Cochran.” The students also produce their own version of Edgewater events with drawings in a unique booklet.

Teacher Gail Smith has continued to develop the program over the years. This year the students decided it was time to add some information about the 1980s and the 1990s in Edgewater. Mrs. Smith said “It’s a wonderful community to study because of its diversity. In studying it, we see how the values of diversity, the inclusion of all, are lived out. We also see the love and care spent on making this a beautiful community.

The building of the large model takes weeks. Mrs. Smith reports “When we begin the model we start to notice more about how the community works. We recognized the size of the buildings, where they are located and how they are attuned to the environment. After its built you see it as a whole, a great big doll house. All the parts make one beautiful whole.”