Fifth-graders put history on stage Performance covers pre-1895 era

November 12, 1993|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,Contributing Writer

Indians stood in the same room with Pilgrims, colonists, statesmen and revolutionaries. But all was peaceful yesterday as Mechanicsville Elementary School fifth-graders excitedly rehearsed for their evening performance of the history of the United States at Gamber Fire Hall.

Fifth-grade teachers Wendy Wilson, Lucille Bowersox, Stella Letras and Diana Marting have worked closely with music teacher Terri Haislip, instrumental teacher Robin Shamer and school assistant Cheryl Wilson to prepare the students. The program covers the period from the Europeans' coming to the New World through 1895.

The show was coordinated to complement the fifth-grade social studies curriculum.

"This is our winter program," Ms. Bowersox said. "We usually do it later, but we did it a little earlier this year."

"We decided to have it on Veterans Day because it's appropriate," Ms. Wilson said.

The program, scheduled to follow a PTA meeting, included instrumental performances, songs and oral histories. The students did most of the research so that they could accurately portray such figures as Christopher Columbus, Henry Hudson and Pocahontas.

They even learned about some not-so-famous people.

"I play Debra Sampson, who disguised herself as a man and fought in the Revolutionary War," said Gwen Oxidine, 10.

"I learned how the people lived," said JulieAnn Schwarzmann, 10. She and Jamie Schlippen, 9, shared the role of patriot Molly Pitcher.

"She says the first part, and I say the second part," JulieAnn said as Jamie giggled.

There was a mix of the old and new. Some wore colorful headbands, coonskin hats, powdered wigs and feathers in addition to very 20th-century high-top tennis shoes. Some of the children's personal wardrobes didn't date back far enough to achieve the Colonial look.

"My mom gave me the beads," said 10-year-old Amanda Taylor, who was a flute-playing Indian. "We borrowed the vest from my aunt."

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