October Brown Bag Lunch & Learn
Richard Simunek, author of “Lone Star School – Now we are going to be Americans”
The book is more than a book of a one-room school. It is a story of Americanization and assimilation, a story of 31 families from seven nations and 23 states packed into the nine square miles of the traditional one-room school.
The book started as a simple scrapbook of memorabilia created by Richard’s father of his experiences at a one-room school near Hennessey. Lone Star School’s story of America and how America came to be is told from a never before presented perspective, the experience of the one-room school student.
From the back cover of the book:
Started as a simple scrapbook of memorabilia of a father’s one-room school, Lone Star School blossomed into the telling of how a mighty nation was built from sea to shining sea. Richard Simunek details the history of America as this country crept away from its Atlantic Coast beginnings, stumbled over the Appalachians, flooded the old Northwest Territories, spilled into the Great Plains, and raced ever westward to the Pacific Coast.
Multiply the history of Lone Star School by 190,000, the estimated number of one-room schools that once existed in America, and the resulting sum is a good chunk of America’s history and how America came to be. Lone Star School’s story of America and how America came to be is told from a never before presented perspective, the experience of the one-room school student. Lone Star School is the only one-room school in America with the history of its students’ families intact.
Step into the shoes of previous generations of Americans through the stories of John Sipes of the Cheyenne Nation, the Hladik family from Czechoslovakia, and the Taggart family from Scotland. Each family story takes place in three very different time periods and locations. Yet, each narrative, along with the Hennessey Separate School story, share the same themes, the search for land and freedom. Discover their continuing relevance in the current arrival of the Mexican-American immigrants in Hennessey.
Richard W. Simunek received a BS and MA in Agricultural Economics from Oklahoma State University and Washington State University, respectively. His thesis was awarded the Outstanding Master’s Thesis by the American Association of Agricultural Economics. Simunek served as Editor of the Farm Sector Review, the US Department of Agriculture’s primary publication analyzing farm income and financial conditions. His research has been published in the American Journal of Agriculture Economics. He served two overseas assignments in Ethiopia and Liberia with the US Agency for International Development. Richard, teamed with his wife Zorita, then became a real estate agent and renovated derelict Victorian townhouses in Washington, DC. Simunek can be contacted at Nowweareamericans@gmail.com.