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The Laskiainen (Shrovetide) Celebrations : The close contact of the Finns with the school system in Virginia was due in part to the fact that so many of their children did so well in school and went on to higher education. Even in the earliest days the Finns availed themselves of the opportunity presented by the evening schools to learn English and to learn the customs of a new country. In 1914, for example, it was estimated by the Century that 500 of the 900 pupils in the evening schools were Finnish, while the Päivälehti claimed the number of Finns in attendance to be 680.

The teachers and principals, meanwhile, often heard speak of Finnish customs preserved among the immigrants, and this led in the 1930s to special attention being given to events like the typically Finnish Shrovetide festivities. After a close study by the school authorities, it was decided to include this celebration within the school program. It was first carried out in 1937, with 19 schools participating, and the Virginia Daily Enterprise reported it extensively. Exhibitions of Finnish handicrafts were included in the programs, and Finnish Shrovetide foods were served: pea soup, meat-filled tarts, coffee bread and rusks. Sometimes, in American fashion, even a Shrovetide Princess was chosen, perhaps even a Queen of the Ball and her handmaidens.

Finnish Professional Men: Many Finnish Americans, educated in this country, have contributed to the professional life of Virginia. Attorney William Huhtala, for example, was Vice-Consul of Finland and was granted the Order of the Finnish Lion, First Class. Doctors have included John Arnold Malmström, A. A. Pesonen and John Räihälä, while Otto Edward Peterson (Mikkonen) has served the community as a dentist. Räihälä, incidentally, has also been honored by the Finnish government, which granted him the decoration of the Order of the White Rose of Finland. Finnish druggists have included V. Helenius, Arvid Hyväri, and H. A. Södergren, of whom mention has already been made in previous pages in the Minneapolis chapter. Hyväri also served for years as Cook County inspector of weights and measures, and as assessor. In banking there appear the names of J. I. Frasa and J. E. Takkinen, who became the president of an important Virginia bank.

The Cooperative Movement in Virginia: A firm calling itself the Finnish Mercantile Company began operations in Virginia in the year 1900. Its business managers included Charles Ahlstrand, Charles Kangas, William Johnson and Jacob Pauli. In 1909, Pauli bought out all shareholders in the company but then


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