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Colton-Pierrepont students mix past and present on COLTS Day

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COLTON - COLTS Days at Colton-Pierrepont Central School (CPCS) give students a chance to step away from day-to-day classrooms to learn about Citizenship, Opportunity, Literacy, Technology and Safety through resources in the area.

Joe Kardash, superintendent of the CPCS District, said, “Feb. 11 was International Safer Internet Day. And so on Tuesday we partnered with Clarkson University to discuss with students in grades seven through 12 how to safely utilize the Internet as a tool to reach college and career readiness. Annually we also partner with The Sunday Rock Legacy Project to provide students with unique views of our local history. Many students have expressed that this makes history real for them. How could it not be a great day with partners like this?”

After students heard about the positive aspects of staying connected globally through social media from Clarkson University students, they were brought back down to earth to learn a bit about the history of their communities, including veterans of World War II, life in Colton and South Colton during the 1940s and the transition from one-room schoolhouses in the area to the central school district. The presentations were based upon historical information captured by the Colton Historical Society (CHS) as part of The Sunday Rock Legacy Project which also involves CPCS and the Grasse River Players (GRP).

According to CHS President Cynthia Hennessy, “By working with CPCS and GRP we are combining our historical, educational and theatrical interests to develop knowledge and skills within the Town of Colton and the larger area within which we live. A common historical theme gives the society a wonderful opportunity to provide a unique summer exhibit at the Colton Museum. Then the information is available to share with students and others throughout the year.”

As part of the theatrical performance in July 2013 the Sunday Rock Legacy partners produced a Radio Hour Show Program &, Historical Guide. Although the document served as the show program it has enduring value as a historical guide. It was shared with the students on COLTS Day and used as a reference for presentations about World War II (in the service) and life during the 1940s (on the homefront).

The program/guide is available free from the Colton Historical Society. During winter months, copies can be obtained from the Colton Town Hall and during the rest of the year when the Colton Museum is open it can be picked up there.

Many local people are acknowledged and quoted from interviews obtained during oral history projects.

Mary Jane Watson said, “Our starting point for last year’s World War II research was an oral history project done in 1999 when the CPCS Class of 2003 interviewed veterans. Also we used the plaques by the Colton Hepburn Library prepared by the 1972 CPCS Industrial Arts Club. Then last summer we interviewed many local residents who lived in the community during World War II or served in the military. Plus the Colton Museum had some old scrapbooks which provided pictures of Colton’s veterans.”

Annually The Sunday Rock Legacy Project needs between $15-20,000 for the stage performance, to do related historical research and to develop associated educational materials.

The stage productions are the most financially demanding. The first one, held in July 2012, was Sunday Rock—The Folk Musical.

The script, music and lyrics were written by longtime Colton resident Evelyn Riehl. And it was directed by Karen Wells of GRP. The project in 2013 focused on the 1940s and World War II in particular, with Karen Wells teaming up with Lorie Gruneisen to bring The 1940’s Radio Hour written by Walton Jones to life on stage at CPCS.

The theme for the legacy project in 2014 is ABRACADABRA—School House Magic. Events will include the musical production of the Tony award-winning play The 25th annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

Colton history and a museum exhibit about one-room school houses will underpin the project and production.

Anyone interested in assisting The Sunday Rock Legacy Project collaborators and/or contributing financially to the 2014 project work can contact Mary Jane Watson of the Colton Historical Society (315-262-2617; sundayrock@localnet.com). Also people can contact the partners via The Sunday Rock Legacy Project page on Facebook.

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