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The Rotary Club of Ville Platte Tuesday heard from Club President Peter Strawitz share his recent meeting attending a meeting of descendants of the Orphan Train. He said his grandfather arrived from New York on the Orphan Train in Marksville in 1905 to be adopted by the Coco family. Many years later, the grandfather visited the foundling hospital and found his real name was Strawitz. He later changed his name to his birth name. The Orphan Trains brought orphans from New York to new homes down south and out west. It began in 1854 and ended in 1929. Overall, some 250,000 children from 14 months old to 14 years old were sent on these trains. Strawitz said there are only two Orphan Train museums in the country: in Opelousas and a second one in Kansas. It was reported that a number of families in the Ville Platte area have relatives who were relocated here by way of the Orphan Trains. Strawitz was the guest speaker of Rotarian Ronnie Landreneau. Also speaking was Theresa Jetters of Slidell, a foster parent who will be heading up a conference on Foster Children planned to take place soon at the Hotel Cazan in Mamou. Rotarians Wayne Vidrine and Nicole Wenger reported on the selection of local high school students who will be attending the summer youth camp at Camp Rylla near Westwego. The students are: Gabrielle Fontenot from Sacred Heart and McKenzie McLinton from Ville Platte High who each won a Rotary Club scholarship and Kalaya Guillory from Ville Platte High who will also attend the summer youth camp June 6-9 paid for by the Rotary Club.


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