Students from Mounts Bay have been in America this week, celebrating the Cornish heritage and history of Mineral Point, Wisconsin. In the early 1800s, miners from Cornwall came to the area of Southwest Wisconsin, bringing the skills, knowledge, and technology of mining. Today, many of the inhabitants of Mineral Point celebrate their Cornish ancestry. A sign in the town claims it is the most Cornish place in the United States. Every year a Cornish Festival is held, to remember and celebrate the culture, heritage, and history of the Cornish. Many of the townspeople have been made Cornish Bards, the latest will be invested next summer. Through connections with Mr Rodgers, Mounts Bay were invited to perform a show as the centre piece of this year’s festival. This is the second time Mounts Bay have put on a show, the last being in 2018.
After a difficult journey, involving cancelled flights and missed connections, the students finally arrived in Mineral Point. Students stayed with host families for the week. The first few days were full of final rehearsals for the show. They performed on Friday for students of Mineral Point Middle School and then the big show for a packed audience at the Mineral Point Opera House. People had come from all over Wisconsin, and some from across the USA to enjoy the festivities of the weekend and watch our performance. Our students were fantastic, putting on a great variety show of singing, dancing, stories, poetry, and videos, all celebrating our love for Cornwall, its history and culture and reflecting on the connections we have to the land, sea, family, and friends, not only in Cornwall but across the pond and around the world. Ms Osborne and Mr Rodgers were immensely proud of the fantastic job the students did and the audience thought it was fabulous.
Following the show, the students spent time with host families, doing a range of fun activities including a Maize maze, pumpkin carving, watching a High School Football game, and enjoying the food of Wisconsin (ask the about cheese curds!) As a group we visited several sites of local interest, the Cave of the Mounds, The House on the Rock, Mineral Point High School. They had a chance to do some shopping at a local mall and in the state capital, Madison.
All the students represented themselves, Mounts Bay Academy and Cornwall very well during the visit. They learnt about the Cornish diaspora and the history and culture of Mineral Pint and Wisconsin. I hope that they have made some strong connections with the people of Mineral Point and that these connections will not only continue but deepen over time. Perhaps we will get the chance to host a reciprocal visit and in time, visit Mineral Point again.