In a unique summer program, kids learn history for July 4 from reenactments of different periods by historians. The historians represented people living in different wars, so the students got an idea of what those struggles were about in anticipation of Independence Day.
The 21st Century Summer Enrichment Program is a free program funded by a federal grant. It also operates after school during the school year. About 65 Bayshore students are participating this summer in the enrichment program, run by Meg Durshimer for Bayshore Elementary.
Durshimer looks for programs that make learning fun and engage students duing the summer months.
“We want them to understand the significance of July 4,” she said.
With representatives from eras including the Civil War, World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War, students learned Monday how the country changed and advanced during each war. The representatives were dressed in garb typical of their time period, and students got to try on and touch different pieces of equipment and toys after listening to the presentation.
Lela Hartsaw and her family represented the Civil War era in American history. Hartsaw was dressed in mourning clothes and talked about the death of a child. She discussed with students that modern medicine didn’t exist back then, and people often got very ill.
Hartsaw also showed off the wooden toys children played with in those times, since plastic didn’t exist yet.
Kevin Gonzales represented a soldier from World War I and talked to students about advances made during that war. Gonzales showed off his tin hat, which offered better protection than the soft caps worn by those fighting in the Civil War.
“In war, you learn and you try to make things work better,” he told students.
Lee Stephens, a Vietnam veteran, spoke about his time in the war, when he flew helicopters.