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Riding Horses to the First Day of School: Hereford (K-8) School

Riding Horses to the First Day of School: Hereford (K-8) School

August 29, 2018

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

We often read in the academic literature that schools of the future will thrive if they also serve as community centers; however our very isolated one & two-room schools already are thrivingvibrant community centers.  This week I drove an hour and 15 minutes to visit the first day of school for Hereford (K-8), 2-room school.  They welcomed me, as if I lived 5 minutes away.  The school yard was filled with moms, dads, babies, aunties & uncles, grammies & grampys, a school board member, and even the local electrical company people who arrived with donuts and juice for everyone.  I’m pretty sure that these prairie people don’t need the academic literature to tell them what works in their school.

In this issue of WinkWorld, I will share just a peak into this wonderful experience.

Both teachers, one baby daughter, and 15 kids lined up for the official photo.  Teachers, we understand how tricky it can be to get kids to line up on the first day, but when you add horses to wiggling kids, it is even trickier


Here are two of the 8th graders: Jess and Sage.  

Ironically, Jess on the left with the dark long-sleeve shirt, once was a little girl who came to my classes at Black Hills State University with her mom, a graduate student.  Here is Jess 3 years ago in our graduate class, as I was doing a Read Aloud.

Incidentally, “The SheepOver (Sweet Pea & Friends)” by Jennifer Churchman and John Churchman is a great book.  There are now 2 others in the series: “Brave Little Finn” and “Alpaca Lunch” available on Amazon.

This little guy is just beginning kindergarten.  He was not the least bit excited to tell me about riding to school on a horse on his first day ever in school, but he was VERY excited that he had a phone buried deep in one his many pockets.  He eventually dug it out and proudly showed it to me.

In the photo below, Carrie, is the teacher for the kids in 5th-8th grades.  Carrie even rode with her baby, Grace.

Terri is the teacher of K-4; here she is with the kids who will be in her class.

Of course, we had to have some fun!

Hey, Look, I Even Found an Avid Reader!

This mom, Cassie, was reading “just a few more pages” until I went over and interrupted her as she was lost in the flow of the book, Winter by Marissa Meyer, which is part of The Lunar  Chronicles.

Finally, it is time to go in and start the school year: Ring that Bell, Boys!

Thank you to Elizabeth (mom of Jess), Shelane (traveling library paraprofessional), and Terri (teacher)  for sharing some of your photos and the video.


  • LeAnn G Putney

    Such a wonderful first day experience!

  • Shelley Taylor

    Best back to school story I ever heard, & so nice to see the pics too!

  • Joanne (Keegan) Silbernagel

    These pictures and the story totally warmed my heart and I have shown it to so many. What an awesome tradition, love how the country people show us what is still so important in life. The prairie life, wide open spaces, simplicity of horseback riding, community fellowship and just coming together for the first day of school. I miss the country life but love the reminders. Thank you all!

  • Moneik

    This reminds me so much of my first days of school. I attended the Milesville Country school in Milesville, SD. We opened the school back up when I was in 1st and we had 8 kids, with a high of 14 kids K-8 one year. The school is still open today and that was over 30 years ago.

    • Joan Wink

      Thank you for telling us. I’ll try to find out how many kids are in it this year. We are not too far from Milesville.

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