Education Feature: Patchwork project

CNJ staff photo: Gabriel Monte Patricia Thompson, 56, holds a quilt she made for a teaching class at Wayland Baptist University.

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

Patricia Thompson’s fascination with quilt making and the underground slave railroad earned her an A in her last class.

Her quilt has also given her an opportunity to teach history students about African-Americans’ struggle for freedom in the pre-Civil War era of the United States.

The Logan resident was asked to create a visual aid that would teach students about a certain subject as an assignment for a teaching class during the spring semester at Wayland Baptist University.

“My whole thing was that I wanted students to come up with a project that they can pass on to their class that would hit all styles of learning,” said Judy Brandon, who taught the upper-level teaching course. “And she came up with a great idea.”

Thompson spent a month stitching a 3 feet by 3 feet quilt with blocks representing the patterns in quilts used in the Underground Railroad.

“By doing it this way, you can display the different quilts and the meanings behind the blocks,” she said.

It was people helping people that got her interested in the underground railroad, Thompson said.

Since creating the quilt, Thompson has shared the story of the Underground Railroad with fifth-graders at Logan. She works at the school’s library and teaches a drafting class there.

“I think it’s really good,” she said. “It gives a visual element to what the kids are learning.”

Thompson said she had been making quilts for about 20 years, but has never done anything this detailed. She said she used more than a dozen fabrics to put it together.

Thompson, 56, is working toward her teaching certificate and plans to teach business classes in high school.

“She’s the kind of teacher candidates we have down there that just do a little bit extra, that go the extra mile,” Brandon said.

Though she plans to enter it in county fair contests, she wants her quilt to do what she made it for, teach.

“I don’t want it to be locked up in a closet,” she said. “I want it worn out. I want people to see it, enjoy it. I want students to wear it out.”