Newly Renovated 102-Year-Old Fairview Schoolhouse Open for Summer School

Taylor Holt
July 28, 2017 09:59 PM

A century old Wisconsin schoolhouse has been renovated and is being used this summer to teach local kids about different cultures. Friday was the final day of summer school inside the historic Fairview schoolhouse.

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"This is where I played band and sang in choir in high school in this room," said Bill Kangas, an Oulu resident. Kangas came to the school to teach the group of about 30 summer school kids Finnish music.

"I learned Finnish many years ago," said Kangas. "Today we taught them the Finnish National Anthem. They really enjoyed it and had a lot of fun with that."

The school is now back to being used for it's original purpose after undergoing renovations. The summer school program is the first time the schoolhouse is being used since it was moved from Port Wing, Wisconsin to the Oulu Cultural and Heritage Center early this year. 

"It's just like it was (when I was in school) - the same windows and everything," said Kangas.

Aside from a new Bell Tower and a couple other fixes, Kangas is right. Many parts of the original school remain. This past week, it was used for a lesson into the Finnish culture.

"I definitely liked learning about Finnish. Every morning, we learned a new word or a couple of new words," said Mckenna Coy, a 10-year-old student in the summer school. 

It's been the same experience for Mirva Johnson, a University of Wisconsin - Madison student who came to teach the kids Finnish. 

"I heard about the summer school and I just really wanted to help out because I love working with kids," said Johnson. "Finnish language and my Finnish heritage has always been really important to me."

The hope is that this historic building can bring that same passion for people to learn about the local history and all cultures.

"If you don't know what happens in the past, you probably don't know what's going to happen in the future," said Coy.

"It's important to be proud of what ever your heritage," Johnson said.

The summer program was a partnership between the South Shore School District and the Oulu Cultural and Heritage Center. They plan to use it in the future for summer school as well as adult education classes.


Taylor Holt

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