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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
Collage of Local Legacies
Jacob and Anna Friesen and their six children, 1883
The Friesen Family 1883: Front: Anna (mother), Issac, Peter, and Jacob (father). Back: Jacob, Anna, Katharina, John. Peter, Katharina and Issac were the three children rescued.

Jacob Friesen and the Blizzard of 1888: Children Connection

This project was created by fourth-graders at Heartland Community School as part of an innovative curriculum of place-based learning. The children conducted in-depth historical research into their local history and, in the process, discovered a local hero. Jacob Friesen was a German Mennonite immigrant who braved the blizzard of 1888 to rescue his three children who were lost in the storm. The children wrote and produced an original play based on this story. A videotape of the performance is included as part of the project. The project is supported by the rural network for Nebraska schools, "Schools at the Center," which fosters curriculum development.

The project is documented with a report "Jacob Friesen and the Blizzard of 1888: Children Connecting to their Community's Stories"; a video of the Blizzard play and a video entitled "Making Waves," a School at the Center production; two reports "Living and Learning in Rural Schools and Communities" and "Curriculum Invention in Rural Places" and six other miscellaneous reports of the Teachers College, University of Nebraska - Lincoln; the typescript of the Blizzard local history play; 12 color photos of Heartland Community School's fourth grade class; 10 historic photos; copies of miscellaneous family papers and the Friesen family tree, maps of the area and newspaper clippings.

Originally submitted by: J. Robert Kerrey, Senator.

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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