Sheridan students travel to Wyola for learning opportunity

Thursday, November 29, 2018
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Courtesy photo

Students from Wyola and Sheridan, Mont. gather together to make panbread during an educational station held in Wyola Public School. From the left: Macie Geis, AJ Foote and Mackenzie Thorson.

Continuing a cultural exchange program that began Oct. 30, Sheridan Junior High School students from Wyoming visited Wyola Public School on Tuesday, Nov. 20, where they were separated into small groups in order to intermingle. When the exchange began, Wyola students originally had traveled to the Sheridan, Wyoming school.

This time, the schools were more interwoven, with the students placed in with different classes and introduced to new activities.

First, the Sheridan students were welcomed by the Wyola District Song and the Crow creation story. Maggie Yellowtail, the art teacher of Wyola, said, “The whole idea is to help them realize that we are all pretty much the same.”

Students then separated into three stations, where they focused on specific tasks. One group learned to make panbread, while another listened to stories from culture teacher Janis Wilson. The third took on a Native art project, using rawhide to make containers known as parfleches. Each group had the opportunity to participate in the three stations.

Aside from the stations, Wyola students also had a chance to teach their guests about symbols on the flag and their meaning, as well as the six clans in the tribe.

The day ended with a round dance, allowing the students to join together one final time before the guests departed. On the ride home, Sheridan teacher Dana Wyatt said, she asked the kids, “On a scale of 1-10 how much fun did you have?” The answer, she said, was overwhelmingly positive, with the answers being anywhere from 15 to 22.

Compared to the Nov. 5 trip, Wyatt said, Wyola students were “much more comfortable and much more open” while “on their home territory.”

“Pretty soon, they were all being kids together,” she said. “That was our huge goal.”

During both trips, Sheridan Junior High has been constructing a documentary video. They will play a shorter version for their school’s news network and use a longer version to share between Sheridan Junior High and Wyola.

Along with the video, the schools agree there will be future collaboration and what they have done so far has been a success.