Students participate in 1st Founders Day

The first Founders Day celebration in the 218-year history of the City of Warren was held Thursday afternoon.

And activism on the part of the current fourth-grade class at St. Joseph School is the reason the day was celebrated.

The school held an assembly which featured song, a presentation on the history of Warren as well as the official reading of a proclamation declaring April 18 as Founders Day in Warren.

The whole process that culminated in Thursday’s assembly originated last school year. The students in the third grade drafted a letter to Dr. Howard Ferguson, St. Joseph principal and city councilman, petitioning for a Founders Day.

“In Social Studies class recently, we read about other communities that celebrate Founders Day,” the students wrote in the June 2012 letter. “We wondered why our community doesn’t celebrate such an occasion.”

After narrowing the date of the founding of the city to April 18, 1795, the students, in their letter, explained, “Our class discussed how nice it would be to celebrate Founders Day in Warren each year on April 18. We think our community should honor General Joseph Warren. We also think the residents of this county should remember the oil and lumber industries that brought people to this area.”

Council proclaimed Founders Day as April 18 at its March meeting.

That set the stage for Thursday’s festivities.

“This is a special day at our school,” Ferguson said.

The assembly was a culmination of a wealth of learning experiences for the students.

Students in each grade explored topics relating to the founding of Warren – oil and gas, timber, Chief Cornplanter, General Warren and Generals Irvine and Ellicott, who were responsible for laying out the town of Warren.

The students presented their findings to each other on Tuesday and to Bishop Lawrence Thomas Persico briefly on Monday.

Maurice Cashman spoke to the students about the history of Warren and Mayor Mark Phillips formally read the proclamation for the student body.

Ferguson thanked the students for their work in finding a day where all citizens could celebrate the founding of the City of Warren.

The proclamation also praised their efforts.

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