Home Pharmacy practice History Recreated: Wagon Creates Special History Lesson for Kearney Students | Local News

History Recreated: Wagon Creates Special History Lesson for Kearney Students | Local News


KEARNEY – In 1958, the Kearney Hub published a photo of a fourth-grade class from Kenwood School gathered around a table model of a boxcar.

As many newspaper readers did at the time, Doris Abood cut out the photo and put it in a drawer because her son Dick was in the picture.

Last November, 63 years and two generations later, that image was recreated by Amy Burns’ fourth grade class at Faith Christian School. His students gathered around the same model boxcar and stagecoach, which are now on display at the Fort Kearney Museum at 131 S. Central Ave.

The museum is owned by Marlo and Jennifer Johnson, who are the grandparents of 10-year-old Amelia Sunderland, who is in Burns’ class.

Amy Burns

“When Ms. Burns sent a letter to parents about the upcoming Nebraska History Unit, it gave me an idea,” said Michelle Johnson, mother of Amelia and daughter of Marlo and Jennifer Johnson.

With Marlo’s blessing, she pulled the cart and stagecoach out of the museum display, took them to Faith Christian School, and shared them with Burns’ class. Burns asked his students to recreate the photo taken 63 years earlier.

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The cart and stagecoach were made over 60 years ago by a regular customer of the former Roy’s Cafe on Central Avenue. Café owners Doris and Ray Abood displayed them in their restaurant to celebrate the pioneering spirit and history of the area. Their son Dick took them to show his fourth grade class at Kenwood School.

A few years later, the Aboods gave them to Johnson for display at the Fort Kearney Museum, but Doris kept that clipping.

1958 Kearney Hub

Here is the 1958 Kearney Hub newspaper clipping showing a Kenwood School class admiring models of a boxcar and stagecoach. In the last row, 11th student from the left, is Dick Abood.

Hub File

“I found this clipping when I was going through their belongings after they died,” said Dick Abood, now a professor of pharmacy at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. He kept the original but scanned it into a computer and emailed it to other family members so they could have a copy as well.

Abood said the cart and stagecoach were hand-built by an elderly man who lived in a one-room house with dirt floors next to his grandparents’ property in Kearney. “My dad bought this property and the man gave the items to my dad. I must have been around 7 or 8 at that time,” he said.

Burns was thrilled to display the museum’s model wagons last fall when her 13 fourth-graders made their own miniature boxcars as part of their Nebraska history unit.

When this Kearney Hub photography clipping appeared, “The kids were in awe! They thought that was pretty cool,” Burns said. She liked being able to make that connection with the past.

“Teaching is my passion. I believe that if you don’t have fun, you don’t learn, and you don’t learn if you don’t have fun,” she said. His 22 years of teaching experience includes 13 years in Fremont and eight years at college in Kearney.

Johnson said Burns was “so good with the kids. She is a truly phenomenal teacher. She makes sure they learn, but she also makes it fun and interesting. It was so cool to see the kids enjoying the craftsmanship and detail of these precious replicas.

Amelie Sunderland

Amelia Sunderland is in Amy Burns’ fourth grade class at Faith Christian School. She has been helping out at her family’s Fort Kearney Museum since she was 4 years old.

Kearney Hub File

Johnson grew up helping out at her family’s Fort Kearney Museum. “I would go out and feed the fish and see where all the visitors were coming from. I also helped my mother with the counter. My grandfather ran the boat so there was always a way to get involved and help out,” she said.

Currently the director of Great Plains Art & Antiques at 625 E. First St., Johnson is thrilled to see 10-year-old Amelia so happily involved. The first member of Johnson’s fifth generation, Amelia will inherit the museum, her mother said. She will be well qualified. She has hosted mini-tours there since the age of 4.

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