Founders Day Founders

Consider it social activism at its finest.

A group of third-graders were in their social studies class last year and read about communities that celebrate Founders Day.

After doing some legwork to figure out when Founders Day in Warren should be, they wrote to their principal, Dr. Howard Ferguson, who also serves on Warren City Council.

“(We) thought it would be a good idea to write a letter to Dr. Ferguson to have a Founders Day” to honor General Warren, Anne Schwanke, one of the students, said to council on Monday night.

The letter outlines the approach they took to determine that Founders Day should rightly be on April 18.

“We walked to General Joseph Warren Park and viewed his statue to see if we could find the date when Warren was founded,” the students wrote. “We could not locate one. We then contacted Mrs. (Michelle) Gray at the Historical Society and asked her for help. She did some research and sent us information about the Act of April 18, 1795, which established the laying out of several towns, including Warren.”

Once they had a date, they had to hash out a proposal for how the day should be celebrated.

“Our class discussed how nice it would be to celebrate Founders Day in Warren each year on April 18,” they wrote. “We think our community should honor General Joseph Warren (for whom the city and the county were named). We also think the residents of this county should remember the oil and lumber industries that brought people to this area.”

The students, now in the fourth grade, were in attendance at Monday evening’s council meeting where a proclamation was read designating April 18 as Founders Day.

The proclamation notes that “with respect to be laid out at the mouth of the Conewango Creek, it was ordered that commissioners be appointed to ‘…survey or cause to be surveyed three hundred acres for town lots and seven hundred acres of land adjoining thereto for out lots, …and the town hereby directed to be laid out shall be called ‘Warren.'”

“Be it further proclaimed that all just and due recognition be given to the students of St. Joseph School who, of their own volition, endeavored to determine the exact date of this community’s founding and requested that Warren City Council officially acknowledge this date,” the proclamation notes.

Ferguson said the process “illuminated their intellectual curiosity.”

He said that the school will be holding an assembly on April 18 at 1 p.m. in celebration. Ferguson said the students “are putting together a lot of information” for the assembly. Mayor Mark Phillips will present the proclamation and Maurice Cashman, council vice president, will be the guest speaker.

“It will be a very special day,” he said.