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The Tercentennial In Newtown Schools



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The Tercentennial

In Newtown Schools

Newtown Schools have been celebrating the tercentennial of Newtown’s founding in various ways throughout the 2004-2005 school year.

Clockwise from top, at Head O’ Meadow Elementary School, a pictorial time line graces the entire back wall of the cafeteria. Pictures depicting historic aspects and events from Newtown since 1705 weave across a colorful background, inviting all of the students, staff, and parents who pass by to stop and peruse it.

Hawley Elementary School chose to prepare an exhibit honoring the school’s benefactress, Mary Elizabeth Hawley. Members of Hawley’s Quality Council developed the idea and worked with the Booth Library and Caroline Stokes, curator, to set up a meaningful display in the school. Staff, families, and children have enjoyed viewing the exhibit made up of school materials and toys of Mary Hawley, period clothing, and original documentation of Newtown schools, among other items. Second grader Joey Praino and first grader Katie Moses paused from their busy school day to check out the display.

Sandy Hook Elementary School’s June Field Day was dedicated to the tercentennial. Children took part in several “country fair”-style events. “Raise the Flag,” in which children attempted to suck up paper flags with straws, was a popular event. Tossing bags at the suspended rings of “Ring the Freedom Bell” kept other field day participants busy.

The seventh grade at Newtown Middle School has covered history through the Revolution, and cluster teachers there have integrated Newtown’s history through that time period into their studies. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier is a novel that takes place during the Revolution in this area of New England, and was read by some of the seventh grade clusters. The spring choral and band concert included a salute to the tercentennial, as well.

Cluster 7C visited the Village Cemetery on Elm Drive in June, where they came across several familiar historical names from Newtown’s past during a scavenger hunt there incorporating science and social studies. Cluster teacher Sue Kurkel discussed the tale told by the monument to Thomas and Betsey Briscoe to students Chris Rekofsky, Alec Westhaver, Brandon Marshall, and Patrick Harris. Students Dylan Desclin, Michael Tuccio, and Dan Tibolla observed the effects of weather and time upon the gravestone of Abigail Blackman in the old part of the cemetery. Keith Reszoly, Alicia Piccirillo, Zachary Bennett, and Shelly Davies took notes in front of another ancient tombstone in the cemetery.

Sixth graders from Gael Lynch’s class at Reed Intermediate School have put up a web page that can accessed by going to newtown.k12.ct.us, selecting “our schools,” then selecting “Reed Intermediate School,” and choosing Tercentennial Web Pages from the home page. Historical fiction, essays of Newtown’s history, as well as birthday wishes to the town can be viewed there. After observing many Newtown photos from the Newtown Historical Society, the sixth graders were very excited about integrating fact with fiction writing. The photo of the Foundry Pond ice farm from Dan Cruson’s Newtown inspired the story entitled “The Life of David Smiten” by Michael H., a student in Ms Lynch’s class.

Middle Gate Elementary School will be creating a playground timeline in honor of the Tercentennial over the summer and continuing into the new school year, and a schoolwide assembly will feature historian Dan Cruson. Third and fourth graders hope to visit the Village Cemetery, second graders will tour Newtown’s historic Main Street and several other Tercentennial activities will make Newtown come alive for students throughout the next school year.

 Newtown’s 300th birthday will continue to be feted in myriad ways when classes resume in the fall. 00

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