- Associated Press - Friday, January 15, 2016

FREEPORT, Ill. (AP) - From misplaced needles to lively banter, there’s rarely a dull moment in Kelly Everding’s American women’s history class at Freeport High School.

Everding’s students learn about a variety of topics surrounding women’s history, including women’s suffrage and the history of quilting. Historically, quilting began even before the first European settlers traveled to North America, according to Quilting-in-america.com. Everding doesn’t stop at teaching the historical significance of the household object, though; the class spent much of the first semester designing and assembling their own quilts.

This year’s class has about 20 students that are predominantly seniors and female - there is one junior and four male students - and the class is making two quilts. One features a jellyfish, while another features a whale. Everding said the class is on track to finish, and when classes resume Monday, students will layer, tie and bind the quilts.

Everding said the group has a strong rapport and class time is fun and engaging. Her students agree.

“I knew I wanted to take a history course, but didn’t know which one,” Jose Santacruz said. “Ms. Everding suggested this class, and it’s not like any other class I’ve ever taken. Things are a lot more calm, and it’s pretty fun.”



On Nov. 24, the class completed one of its course requirements: educating others about quilting. Freeport School District 145 Superintendent Mike Schiffman, Human Resources Director Chris Shockey and high school Assistant Principal Ryan Pierce visited the class for a hands-on lesson.

“Part of the project is that students must be able to explain the process (of quilting) and why it’s important to someone else,” Everding said. “Working in a group, they also work on communication and cooperation skills, and problem-solving as a group. We can incorporate those things into one project while also looking at the history of why quilts are important.”

While the administrators seemed apprehensive at the outset, they quickly gained positive reviews from their instructors. Shockey and Schiffman, in turn, were equally complimentary, praising the students’ ability to convey new and foreign information.

“He’s doing really well,” senior Emily Vrtol said of Shockey. “My first day, I could barely do this. I had some sewing experience, but it’d been a while.”

“For a skill that’s not as common as it once was, they’re doing a great job of teaching me what I need to do right away,” Shockey added.

Once the quilts are completed, Everding will keep the pieces to use as examples for next school year’s class. The quilts also will be entered in the 2017 Courthaus Quilters bi-annual competition. Entries in the 2015 contest took first, second and third place in their respective categories, Everding said. In the spring semester, the class will turn its attention to Women’s History Month, but it’s the quilting project that many students find memorable.

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Source: The (Freeport) Journal-Standard, https://bit.ly/1ZDHaN1

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Information from: The Journal-Standard, https://www.journalstandard.com/jshome.taf

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