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Cultural Heritage Center program to focus on rural schools

Capturing memories of a way of life disappearing from South Dakota will be the focus of a Jan. 9 program at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre.

Betsey DeLoache of Pierre will discuss her newest book, “Country Schools: Past and Present Volume 2” when the History and Heritage Book Club meets at 7 p.m. CST on Tuesday, Jan. 9.

“This book makes an important contribution to South Dakota history,” said Jay D. Vogt, director of the South Dakota State Historical Society. “It preserves the memories of teachers and students for future generations. Those unfamiliar with country schools will learn about a way of life and a method for educating children.”

The book club is sponsored by the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation, the nonprofit fundraising partner of the State Historical Society.

Everyone is welcome to attend the free program.

DeLoache has interviewed former students and teachers and visited rural schools while they were in session for the past five years.

Her interest in country schools began when she entered a drawing of a rural schoolhouse in an art contest in Pierre. Many of those who saw the drawing told DeLoache that they or a family member had attended a country school and shared their memories of rural schools with DeLoache.

DeLoache grew up in Massachusetts and was unfamiliar with the concept of pupils in all grades being taught by one teacher in a schoolhouse often consisting of one room, located in a rural setting. She began traveling throughout South Dakota to interview people who attended or taught at country schools. The resulting book, “Country Schools: Past and Present,” contains the experiences of more than 350 students and teachers.

The second volume continues the work of students and teachers telling their stories. DeLoache’s drawings of some of the schools illustrate the book.

Both volumes are available at the Heritage Stores at the Cultural Heritage Center and the Capitol.

Please call 605-773-6006 for more information about the program.

About the South Dakota State Historical Society
The South Dakota State Historical Society is a division of the Department of Education. The State Historical Society, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is headquartered at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. The center houses the society’s world-class museum, the archives, and the historic preservation, publishing and administrative/development offices. Call 605-773-3458 or visit for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call 605-394-1936 for more information.

About the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation
The South Dakota Historical Society Foundation is a private charitable nonprofit that seeks funding to assist the South Dakota State Historical Society in programming and projects to preserve South Dakota’s history and heritage for future generations.

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