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There’s nothing quite like an unscheduled break from school to get students excited. This seems to be especially in North Dakota, when school often plunges on, despite 6 foot drifts of blowing snow. Okay, that is an exaggeration, but nontheless, a cancellation is unexpected and can be exciting.

Therefore, in 1918, on this day, Governor Lynn J. Frazier must have made many children very happy when he signed a proclamation that gave a good many students in North Dakota their own unscheduled break. In fact, he gave every student in the state, students of “both city and rural” areas, Friday, March 8, off from school.

However, these kids didn’t get an automatic break; they were assigned a different sort of job. With a “national crisis” of a shortage of food, Frazier said, “We are all determined that our state shall do its share in producing large quantities of food products. How well we succeed will depend upon the amount of individual effort that is put into this work.”

In allowing each individual and the state itself to reach his or her full potential in aiding with the food production of the state, it became necessary to collect data “to insure a large acreage being seeded the coming season.” So there was going to be a house to house canvass “in every community” across the state.

Frazier called on the superintendent, the teachers, and especially the school children to help with this. He thought that with everyone helping, the job could be done in two days.

The students were to be assigned to different regions of the lands by their teachers and superintendents. Questionnaires were to be given to the students who lived in rural areas, so that they might also take inventory of the supplies of feed and seed, livestock and machinery, and other items as necessary. The students who lived in the cities were to be given a different form, which they could use to take note of the amount of labor available for the different capacities of services on farms.

It was perhaps a bit different than what those school children would have expected to do on a day off, but as Frazier said, it would give the young people “an opportunity to render patriotic service of great importance alike to our state and nation.”

By Sarah Walker


The Stanly Sun, Thursday, Feb. 21, p.1