Chestnut Ridge students experience Holmes County history

Chestnut Ridge students experience Holmes County history

The third- and fourth-grade students at Chestnut Ridge got a glimpse inside some of the entities that make Holmes County unique during their recent field trip around the county.


When people think of school field trips, they often think of trips to museums, parks or places like Ramseyer Farm.

For the third- and fourth-grade students at Chestnut Ridge School, a Thursday, May 19 field trip presented the students with a chance to experience several aspects of the county with which they may not have experienced before.

The tour started with a stop at the Killbuck Valley Historical Society Museum and then went to the Holmes County Courthouse, which included lunch outside on the courthouse lawn and park area. Then it was off to the Victorian House to see Holmes County as it used to be, before the day ended with a haiku walk at the Inn at Honey Run.

“The kids had an absolute blast,” said teacher Launie Shaw, who helped organize the trip. “It was a wonderful day, a perfect weather day to travel and be outside, and it was neat to see how the kids enjoyed participating and learning at each stop. Plus, it was an extremely fun way to teach the kids about some of the neat things we have right here in our own back yard.”

Shaw said the stop in Killbuck at the museum, where Bob Porter provided a tour, showed the children some of the history of the county. She said the animal room was a huge hit, and the woolly mammoth and rocks and minerals also were appreciated.

“The kids heard some great stories about our local history,” Shaw said. “We got to take a scavenger hunt walk down memory lane, and the rocks and minerals hit our science standards.”

A trip to the courthouse included a stop to meet with Holmes County Juvenile Judge Thomas Lee. It was there that Lee had Shaw, who teaches third grade, and fourth-grade teacher Kyle Miller put in handcuffs. Fortunately, Brad Conn was there to release them, and while the moment served as a light-hearted experience, it did allow Lee to talk to the students about what he does as a juvenile judge. He also encouraged the students to focus on making good decisions so they don’t see him in court one day down the road.

“We had the kids promise to be good, and he gave us encouragement to be good and listen to our parents,” Shaw said. “After that, we got to sit on the wall and eat lunch with all the traffic going by. It was a fun experience itself.”

That was when newly appointed commissioner Dave Hall walked past on his way to being sworn in. Hall stopped and talked to the children about some of the courthouse’s features.

“He was so great with the kids, and he talked about the secret passage that goes from the old jail into the courthouse, and the kids were so impressed,” Shaw said.

Then it was off to the Victorian House, where the students got a glimpse of what life was like many decades ago. Shaw said the tour there was fascinating and the artifacts presented a new view of life to the youngsters.

Finally, The Inn at Honey Run gave the kids a chance to traverse the trails there and participate in the haiku walk, which Shaw said turned into a haiku run as students bolted up the hills at the top of the trail.

“Some of us ran up the hill. We read the haikus and explored the open-air museum there,” Shaw said. “It was astounding.”

By the time they returned to school, the students got to experience life in Holmes County like they had never seen before.

“It’s amazing everything our county has to offer, and we only saw a portion of it,” Shaw said. “But what was nice was everything we saw was absolutely free. We have the neatest community, and so many people have and continue to invest back into it. We are blessed in many ways. It was really great to see the kids interacting, and while they were having a blast, they were learning so much about our history of Holmes County. Some wonderful memories were made.”

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