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Pioneer Days: Oregon schools and historical society team up for 20th year

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OREGON (WKOW) -- This week kids at elementary schools in the Oregon School District are not only learning about pioneer times, but also they're dressing and acting the part during Pioneer Days.  

Though the event dates back many years, during preparations for Wisconsin's sesquicentennial in 1997 and 1998, there was a grant available to the Oregon Area Historical Society to do something special to celebrate.  The museum collected and created clothes for a loaning closet full of pioneer-era clothing and created a partnership with the Oregon School District.  For the past 20 years, a week or so before Pioneer Days, the fourth graders participating get to pick out their full Pioneer outfits, including bonnets, dresses and aprons for the girls and knickers and suspenders for the boys.  

"They have an opportunity to get dressed up, and they look in the mirror, and it's almost like they're transformed," says Melanie Woodworth, the museum coordinator.  

"I looked like a real Pioneer," said Cassie Pavloski, one of the fourth graders attending Pioneer Days this year.  

Particularly at Brooklyn Elementary School, the students and staff go all out for Pioneer Days.  Not only do they all dress up, but they also simulate a one-room school house at the Brooklyn Community Center.  There they learn about soap making, weaving, spinning, quilting, candle making, churning butter, square dancing and more.  Students also found out punishments at school were apparently a little different back in the day. 

"If you're a high-schooler and got something wrong on a test, you would have to go up to where the kindergartners sat and got embarrassed," says fourth grader, Mackenzie. 

"They pretty much just tried to embarrass you," added her friend Sean.  

"They finally take some time to learn about Brooklyn too and some of the history behind our town, which is so important for our younger generation to learn," says Misty Johnson, a parent volunteer who also attended Pioneer Days in the 1980s.

Students will be at the Brooklyn Community Center for Pioneer Days through Thursday.  

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