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Potter Hollow School House Day: Education and fun for 4th graders

Retired teacher Art Thorman explains the artistry and craftsmanship of tinsmithing during Potter Hollow Day. Courtesy of Greenville Central School District.

Just before the end of the school year, the annual Potter Hollow School House Day was a resounding success, with over 70 enthusiastic fourth graders from Scott M. Ellis Elementary School participating in the event, according to the Greenville Central School District.

This year marked the eighth anniversary since the completion of renovations in 2015, and the day was filled with engaging presentations and activities for students.

The event featured a lineup of five presenters, each offering a unique perspective on various aspects of history, music, architecture and craftsmanship.

The Medusa Mule Bluegrass Band headlined the event with their captivating performances. Retired Greenville science teacher Paul Kelly, a vocalist and banjo player, entertained and educated students about the history of bluegrass, famous names associated with the genre, and even demonstrated various bluegrass instruments.

The band’s morning presentations set the stage for an exciting day of learning. Thanks to a generous mini-grant from The IBMA Foundation, the Medusa Mule Bluegrass Band held a concert in the Cotter Indoor Riding Rink, creating a memorable experience for the young audience. A special thank you to Dorthea Cotter for allowing the students to use her space once again. The Cotter Indoor Riding Rink provided the perfect venue for the event, creating an atmosphere of excitement and enjoyment.

Other presenters included Gina Blenis, a Greenville graduate and historical architect, who gave an insightful presentation on the architectural characteristics and styles incorporated in the schoolhouse. Her talk shed light on the importance of preserving historical buildings and understanding their significance in the community.

Fourth graders try their hand at timber-frame construction. Courtesy of Greenville Central School District

Ian Corcoran, a Greenville parent, shared his expertise on timber-frame construction. His presentation included a hands-on activity where groups of students worked together to construct and deconstruct a timber frame mini barn. This interactive experience allowed the students to gain a practical understanding of the construction techniques used in the schoolhouse.

Art Thorman, a retired social studies teacher from Greenville, showcased his skills as a tinsmith. Through his engaging presentation, he provided a glimpse into the artistry and craftsmanship involved in tinsmithing. 

Linda Mormile, a Potter Hollow graduate and one of the few remaining individuals who attended the school, shared her experiences with the students. Her presentation delved into what life was like during her time at the schoolhouse, including details about activities, subjects studied and daily schedules. 

Linda Mormile, a graduate of the Potter Hollow one-room schoolhouse, explains what a typical school day was like when she attended school there. Courtesy of Greenville Central School District

Looking toward the future, plans are already underway to expand and enhance Potter Hollow School House Day. The organizers hope to invite new presenters to join the event next year, bringing fresh perspectives and knowledge to the fourth graders.

The Greenville Educational Foundation generously sponsors the field trip each year and envisions the possibility of incorporating more student groups in the future. 

None of this would be possible without the dedicated volunteers who make Potter Hollow School House Day a reality. Their hard work and commitment ensure that the event runs smoothly, providing a memorable experience for the students.

Potter Hollow School House Day is a testament to the power of education and community engagement. By offering a range of presentations and activities, the event not only promotes learning but also fosters a sense of connection to the school’s history.

As plans unfold for future iterations, it is clear that this beloved tradition will continue to inspire and educate generations to come.

The Medusa Mule Bluegrass Band performs for the students. Courtesy of Greenville Central School District
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