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Students get hands-on learning in Willard

By MAISEE FRIED • May 15, 2019 at 12:00 PM

WILLARD — Despite cloudy and damp weather, students of all ages came to see Willard Middle School’s 14th annual Revolutionary War reenactment Friday and Saturday.

Cassidy Hamons, an eighth-grader, said she enjoyed learning the “Virginia reel” folk dance in class.

Kyle von Kamp, a history teacher, serves as the co-organizer of the reenactment. He attends many historic events and reenactments in order to promote the Willard event. Zita Smith has served as a co-organizer for the event for the last two years.

Lucy Molloy most enjoyed making her outfits and learning to sew, saying feeling responsible for the outcome was special.

This year, there were twice as many participants than ever before. They came from various organizations, such as the Daughters of the American Revolution, Schoenbrunn Village and Mansfield Block House.

The event planning begins nearly a year in advance when volunteers and vendors are recruited and participants are scheduled.

Von Kamp works to offer a variety of stations for students and makes sure each one has adult assistance.

For the first time, the reenactment included a traditional “dame school” in which students made horn books. The students were introduced to historic dances, cabin construction and wicker basket making. Students also were asked to create their own costumes.

“I love having high school students as teachers of stations. They build their leadership and public speaking skills,” Von Kamp said. “It's great for the younger kids to see and get a taste of what is to come in eighth grade.”

Naomi Schag, an eighth-grader, remembers when her older sister was in the event and looked forward to her turn.

“I definitely want to keep helping with the reenactment in high school,” she said. “It gives us the chance to experience it first-hand. We aren’t reading it or listening to it; we actually get to go out and do it.” 

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