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Library program helps home school students learn about Czech culture in Burleson County

Posted at 5:05 PM, May 30, 2024

CALDWELL, Texas (KRHD) — The Harrie P. Woodson Memorial Library helped home school students learn about Czech culture Thursday morning as part of its meet and greet program.

  • At least 10 home school students learned basic Czech language and made kolaches at the Harrie P. Woodson Memorial Library's Meet and Greet program.
  • The first early Czech immigrants settled in Texas in the late 1800's, eventually spreading the culture to Burleson County.
  • Volunteer and Czech descendant Zach Zgabay says his goal is to promote the language to keep the culture going.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Brooklyn Eldridge is learning four languages.

"Right now, I'm learning at least four different languages starting with Spanish, though, because half of my family is Spanish," she said.

Except for one that is a large part of her community's culture.

"I've been to a couple of Czech places, but I haven't actually learned the language or anything," she said.

Until now —

She's learning Czech at the Harrie P. Woodson Library's "Home School Meet and Greet."

"I love learning new languages," Brooklyn said.

It's Brooklyn's passion that volunteer and Czech descendant Zach Zgabay says he's hoping to inspire in other students.

"The Czech language is something that is just kind of, it seems it's getting really watered down, and it's losing its identity, and that's why I'm doing what I do is promoting the language," he said.

Zach tells me early Czechoslovakia immigrants settled in the 1800s, eventually spreading the culture to places like Burleson County.

"What parts of the culture are still kind of around today that you just kind of see around Burleson County?"

"Well, we do have several different festivals in this area and one of them is always the second Saturday of September, the Kolache Festival...you'll still see from time to time people here that still speak the language. But like I said, that's getting less and less," he said.

So he's teaching kids basic Czech language and how to make their own "quick" kolaches, a popular Czech pastry, and it's inspired Brooklyn to keep studying.

"I would love to travel a bunch of different places and learning different languages is definitely gonna make it easier and improve my education," Brooklyn said.