Noble Hill program encourages youth to pass on kindness

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“The program [began] when the school [building] was opened to the public in 1989,” said Marian Coleman, former curator for the Noble Hill-Wheeler Memorial Center, who now is serving as a volunteer. “… When I came [onboard] I was thinking about character traits that kids learn, and most of them learn these things at home from their parents and at school and at their church. I was just trying to reinforce some of the things that they learned.

“So each summer when they’re out of school, we take a character trait, and we try to instill more information into them about that character trait and how it will help them in their adulthood life. … [This year], we wanted them to learn to give back into their homes, into their communities, into their schools, into the churches that they go to. [We want them to] learn to be kind to people around them and show kindness at all times.”

The Summer Heritage Program, which started June 7, continues each Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. through June 28. Geared to youth ages 5 to 12, the complimentary offering also will treat participants to lunch, courtesy of the Cartersville City Schools Summer Feeding Program.

“My sister attended last week, and she said it was really fun,” said Parisse Smith, a rising eighth-grader at South Central Middle School, on June 14. “I had nothing to do, so I attended.

“Today, we learned about acts of kindness and to respect your mother and your father and your grandmothers and your grandfathers. I enjoyed making the hand [craft] and putting your acts of kindness inside of it.”

Now serving as a cultural museum, the Noble Hill-Wheeler Memorial Center’s building — originally named Cassville Colored School and later referred to as the Noble Hill School — provided instruction for black children in the first through seventh grades from 1923 to the mid-1950s.

Known as the first Rosenwald School in northwest Georgia, Noble Hill cost $2,036.35 to construct. The Rosenwald Fund contributed $700, with the remainder raised by the Cassville community. Built in 1923, the school stayed in operation until the educational site was consolidated into Bartow Elementary School in 1955.

Renamed Noble Hill-Wheeler Memorial Center, the venue at 2361 Joe Frank Harris Parkway in Cassville currently reveals what life and education was like for black residents during the early to mid-1900s.

For more information about Noble Hill and to preregister for the Summer Heritage Program, call 770-382-3392.