BIDWELL — Last fall, River Valley Middle School in Bidwell, hosted a literacy night event for the students and families of Gallia County Local Schools.
The theme was “Celebrating Our Appalachian Heritage” and along with local artisans, the program highlighted literary figures with Appalachian roots.
Among the activities were refreshments, door prize drawings, an art show displaying student work with an Appalachian theme, a quilt display and local musicians and artisans.
Students and their families were able to participate in a question and answer session via Skype with Homer Hickam, the author of Rocket Boys, the book on which the well-known movie “October Sky” is based. The book and movie were based on the inspiring story of Mr. Hickam’s life growing up in the small coal town of Coalwood, W.Va.
Using props and old time pieces, Appalachian storyteller “Granny Sue” (Susanna Holstein) also engaged the crowd with a lively and humorous account of her experiences in Appalachia in the “old days.”
Local musicians, Bob and Kendra Bence, put on a performance featuring the dulcimer, an instrument which has its origins in Appalachia, and Valerie Thomas from The Artisan Shoppe displayed unique and creative work for sale from local artisans.
The event was well attended and the variety of activities provided something for everyone to enjoy. The night gave families a chance to engage and interact with one another and experience literacy in different ways within the context of their heritage.