The Duncan Banner

April 27, 2012

Horace Mann students claim their land

Derrick Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — Sooners and land disputes helped give Horace Mann Elementary’s land run hints of realism.

The school’s fourth-graders claimed their land Thursday on the playground of Horace Mann. Prior to the land run, students spent time learning about Oklahoma history and the land run.

Many of the students were dressed in clothing designed from 1880s styles. Some students pulled “covered wagons,” while others rode “horses” that somehow resembled modern day bicycles.

Javier Martinez and his group were among the students who were Sooners during the program. Before other students ran to claim their land, two groups sought out their new settlements.

“It’s awesome getting to be first,” Martinez said.

Although the Sooners did find land first, Martinez said many of the actual Sooners met with unfortunate fates. Many were imprisoned, many were executed.

But in Thursday’s program, the Sooners went unnoticed by any “law enforcement.” In fact, Martinez’s group was given permission to be Sooners by fourth-grade teacher Kathy Willeford.

“Sometimes the Sooners would get shot if they tried to go early,” Martinez said about some of the things he learned in class.

Participant Sofi Lopez said the school’s land run was a lot of fun, although there’s some things that couldn’t be predicted.

One of those things was having another group’s property line butted up against her team’s property. Because of the shared property line, the students teased each other about land disputes and trespassing.

She said the most difficult part of the event was “boys.”

“Because they’re weird,” Lopez said.

Martinez and Lopez said the land run was a learning experience and something fun for them to do. There was never a dull moment.

Martinez said his favorite part was getting to be a Sooner, while Lopez said she enjoyed the food most. The students dined on meals consisting of chicken strips, stew, cornbread, fruit and cookies.

Although they enjoyed the activity, the students said there was a lot of information provided during class. Lopez took away a lot of information from the class lessons.

For Lopez, the most surprising thing about the land run and the related Oklahoma history was the way people lived.

“People used to do this,” Lopez said.