HOPE VALLEY - Third and fourth graders from Hope Valley Elementary School were transported out of the classroom and all the way back to the revolutionary battlefield on Friday, Dec. 2, when members of the Pawtuxet Rangers, a local militia that protected the Rhode Island coastline during the American Revolutionary War, paid them a spirited visit.
Bayonets were yielded and muskets were fired, but no blood was shed and no casualties were suffered. Instead, the students gained the type of visual, up-close-and-personal learning experience that Fourth Grade Teacher Denise Foggo believes in.
Two members of the rangers, Lt. John Currier and Pvt. Philip Rowell, were on hand to provide a realistic view of what life was like for a militiaman during the American Revolutionary War. Their appearance alone brought the lessons to life for the students, as they were dressed head to toe in traditional minutemen apparel.
Foggo and Principal Guiseppe Gencarelli joined in, and dressed as if they too were living in colonial America.
The students were engaged in the presentation from start to finish, and listened intently as Lt. Currier detailed the day-to-day life lived by the men that fought for liberty in early Rhode Island.
“It is absolutely a great thing for them,” Foggo said of the students when they see classroom lessons come to life.
The day was a part of the bigger picture at Hope Valley School of living history, and Foggo said that the school wants to bring as much living history to the students as they possibly can.
The gymnasium shook as Currier barked orders at Rowell to fix his bayonet to his musket and to carry out other common duties. The students marveled at the colonial relics the rangers displayed, such as primitive surgery tools, and cringed at stories of hygiene and medicine practiced by soldiers who barely knew the luxury of shoes.
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