Friday, May 18, 2012

Unique Hike through History Explores Childhood at Sites in Two States

Ringing the factory bell that summoned youth before there were child labor laws.  Shelling peas, and scrubbing clothes in a washtub like a French Canadian immigrant family 100 years ago.  Reciting classroom lessons learned in the 1800s by a student who became one of Maine’s most famous authors, Sarah Orne Jewett.
About 190 eighth graders from Marshwood Middle School and 30 third graders from Central School have been preparing for these activities by researching real local residents from the past.  They readied themselves to teach some 600 younger elementary students in preparation during the Hike through History on May 18. 
Eighth graders were especially enthusiastic as they prepared for the Hike through History in recent days. Abby Corriveau recalled her own experience on the Hike back when she was in Central School grader, saying, "It is great to be working on something that I was involved in when I was little, and help all the kids learn about history."
Andrew Bennington moved to the school district after third grade and thus has never experienced a Hike throughHistory. "I'm excited to be experiencing an awesome event for the first time as the teacher, and to help the kids learn."
Tabitha Fiorentini said, "The planning of Hike Through History is teaching me a lot. Hopefully all our work will pay off!"
"It's tough to put this together," Nicolas Ciampa admitted, "but I'm excited for the final result that'll be educational and fun for the kids."
For the past 18 years, Central School’s annual Hike through History has been a collaboration with the Old Berwick Historical Society.  The event is led by teachers, older students and volunteers, at little financial expense.
“The Hike provides engaging, authentic local history resources to introduce students to history studies using actual places and people of our own community,” said Nicole St. Pierre, curriculum coordinator for the Old Berwick Historical Society who is teaming up with Pamela Mulcahey, a Central School teacher who coordinates the Hike through History.
“The theme of this year's Hike is Childhood,” St. Pierre continued.  “Kids will be focusing on the idea of how children of the past contributed to their families, schools, and communities.”
“Both the eighth grade and third grade interpreters do a fantastic job, first conducting their own historical research, and then communicating what they learn to a younger audience,” she added.
This year's Hike through History planned to circulate throughout downtown South Berwick, including the Sarah Orne Jewett House and the new South Berwick Library. Taking advantage of their school’s location on the Maine/New Hampshire border, the route would also cross a bridge over a historic waterfall to follow the footsteps of factory workers at the Salmon Falls Manufacturing Company in Rollinsford, NH.  Eighth-grade interpreters were assigned to meet the young children, explain how cloth was made under difficult working conditions, and demonstrate life in a boarding house.
Along the way, children would also have fun tasting the wares of a bakery and confectionery, shopping for 1910 fashions, and enjoying an amusement park like that once operated by the trolley company.
Central School and Berwick Academy third graders prepared for the Hike by attending a special program at the Counting House Museum in early May, where they experienced a simulated school classroom of Miss Olive Raynes, a South Berwick teacher in the 1800s.
Counting students, teachers and families, the number of Hike through History participants is about 1000.  Historic New England, South Berwick Public Library, and owners of the historic properties along the route also have collaborated. 
Most of the Hike through History route travels through districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Maine and New Hampshire.
This year’s Hike preparations sawimprovements over past years. Staffing has allowed better integration of teachers’ educational goals with historic materials from the archives of the society’s Counting House Museum, and written plans to support the program’s continuation in the future. A supportive website,, has also been created. Funding for the improvements was provided by grants from the Davis Family and Marshwood Education Foundations. (courtesy photo)

Marshwood Students Win Accolades at National Championships

On April 27, students from Marshwood High School traveled to Washington, D.C.,and represented Maine in the 25th annual We the People: The Citizen
and the Constitution national championship. About 1,400 high school students from forty-seven states and the District of Columbia participated in the highly prestigious academic competition on the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.
After two days of rigorous competition, Marshwood’s Unit Six team of Isabella Burke, Catherine Pouliot and Samantha Silver were awarded honors for being the top team in the nation for Unit 6. Marshwood students studied for months to prepare for their role as experts testifying on constitutional issues in a simulated congressional hearing. To represent Maine at the national finals, the class won the state competition held in Portland on February 3.  This marked the fourth straight state title for Marshwood.
 “To win the state championship is quite difficult and to win a unit award at the National championships is an amazing achievement,” said Matt Sanzone, the social studies teacher who coaches the Marshwood team.  “We’ve been to nationals five times, but this is the first year one of our teams won an award.  Isa, Kate and Sam are extremely talented and bright students who spent countless hours doing research and preparation.  They performed at an elite level,” said Sanzone.  Perhaps the most impressive aspect of these students’ accomplishment is the fact that they competed in two separate units due to Marshwood’s team size.  “We only had twelve students at nationals, so six of our kids had to do two units each.  Competition rules require three students on each of the six unit teams,” noted Sanzone.
“It is always a tremendous honor to represent our state at Nationals,” said Sanzone. All six, unit teams displayed outstanding knowledge of their topics and demonstrated poise in the face of some challenging questions. I am so proud of each and every one of them.”  Students who represented Marshwood at the National Finals were: Unit 1 (What are the philosophical and historical foundations of the American political system?) Adam Bryant, Trenor Colby and Jessica Pickford; Unit 2 (How did the Framers create the Constitution?) Isabella Burke, Catherine Pouliot and Samantha Silver; Unit 3 (How has the Constitution been changed to further the ideals contained in the Declaration of Independence?) Nick Forsyth, Rebecca Green and Madeline Hixon; Unit 4 (How have the values and principles embodied in the Constitution shaped American institutions and practices?) Rebecca Green, Toni Kaplan and Timothy LaPointe; Unit 5 (What rights does the Bill of Rights protect?) Adam Bryant, Timothy LaPointe and Ian Ramsay; and Unit 6 (What Challenges might face American constitutional democracy in the twenty-first century?) Isabella Burke, Catherine Pouliot and Samantha Silver.  
Senior Isabella Burke said, “I'm extremely grateful for the experience I've had with We The People. It was especially awesome to be able to see all the monuments, museums, and landmarks in Washington, DC. The city provides a perfect backdrop for the competition. I was already very interested in politics and government, but this experience has helped me gain a greater understanding of governmental and Constitutional issues throughout American history. We The People is a unique, rigorous, and inspiring program that challenges students to think and articulate ideas at a higher level than most other academic situations require. I think it instilled a greater sense of citizenship and patriotism in all of us.”
We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution is funded by the U.S. Department of Education under the Education for Democracy Act approved by the United States Congress.  The program is directed by the Center for Civic Education in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.  Nationwide, the program is implemented at the upper elementary, middle, and high school levels and has reached more than 30 million students and 81,000 teachers during its 25-year history. (courtesy photo)

Mary Keane Celebrates Her 103rd Birthday

Friends and family joined Mary Keane to celebrate her 103rd birthday this past Saturday, May 12, at the home of Scott and Judy Heminger in Ogunquit. Keane lives there with her brother, John, who is 98. The siblings were orphaned when Mary was nine years old.  “There were four brothers and sisters, and they each went to live with a different family,” Judy Heminger said. “Their parents were Irish immigrants, and they worked in the Amoskeag mill yard in Manchester, New Hampshire. “Even at her age, she has her mind and wits about her. She’s quite a lady.” More than seventy-five guests turned out to the Open House to wish Mary Happy Birthday. (courtesy photo)