Windsor Locks Heritage Day was born back in the spring of 2015. For the first time in many years the WLMS Social Studies Department had students conduct projects on local history of their town. Teachers quickly determined that students were engaged and excited about learning about the rich history of their town. That May teachers and students gathered at Windsor Locks Town Library to display their projects and meet with local historians of Windsor Locks. The night was a huge hit and the momentum from that event would carry over to the next school.
In the autumn of 2015, the Middle school's first "History Club" was created which met every week before school on Thursday mornings. The group was created to better organize some of the extra-curricular events centered around social studies. Some of these activities are History Day, the Geography Bee, Essay Competitions, and collaborating closely with the Windsor Locks Historical Society.
As part of their work studying the town's history the group was invited to attend the Meeting on Main. These meetings were designed to plan how we can revitalize downtown Windsor Locks and connect local town officials, business leaders, and schools. One of the first presentations was the idea to create a Town Green in the sports fields located behind the Middle School.
The History Club jumped on this idea and thought about expanding the Heritage Night showcase to a full day event at the town green. There were many obstacles the group would have to overcome, but when it came down to it the students voted to pursue a Heritage Day event to bring together the community.
After successful Heritage Days in 2016, 2017, and 2018, Heritage Day is entering into its fourth year. The day has taken on many meanings to the group but none are more important then raising funds and awareness to renovate the Historic Train Station of Windsor Locks. In the first year, the group donated $750 followed by $2,500 and $3,500 dollars. This money has gone to the repair of the roof and the chimneys of the historic train station. The day also features the top projects from each grade level that are centered around the history of Windsor Locks. The Heritage Exhibit is something the group has become very proud of as each year the depth and creativity of these projects improves. Local food, vendors, and entertainment make for a great family day at Heritage Day!
Last year, the group was able to visit the Montgomery Mill groundbreaking ceremony. Many students have created projects about the Montgomery building and have come up with plans for its revitalization. To actually see this happening was a very powerful moment to the group.
The group has been recognized by Town of Windsor Locks, the Windsor Locks Historical Society, and The State of Connecticut for the efforts. They have received local media coverage from the Windsor Locks Journal, the Hartford Courant, and the Journal Inquirer.
The History Club held its best Heritage Day in 2018. We are proud to say that we donated $3500 dollars to the renovation of the historic train station this year. What started as a small project has grown into an event that truly brings us together to celebrate the towns’ past, present and future! History Club is looking towards Heritage Day 2019! Saturday, June 1st, at the town green behind the Windsor Locks Middle School. We hope to see you there!