Students have become recording stars for a National Park Service project by singing about a field trip.
At Centennial Elementary School, students created a song about Bent’s Old Fort, a national historic site in La Junta. Inspired by the stories about the various people who lived and worked in the community, they wrote a song, Castillo de Lodo, the Castle of Mud.
They contrasted the mixing of the mud to build a fort with the mixing of the people to build a community. “Mexican laborers Native Americans, Cultures combined like a buffalo stew, Castillo de Lodo, the castle of mud, Castillo de Lodo they mixed up the mud, And added el agua, zacate, arena el sol y tiempo”
In August, thee students visited the fort, where they learned about the history of the old adobe building. It was an important crossroads of the Santa Fe Trail in the early 1800s.
More than ninety percent of the students in the group are from poor families and most have not experienced many cultural field trips. But those who went on the trip are members of the cultural diversity club. They focused on how the people of Bent’s Fort lived, worked, and traded peacefully together.
Such diversity ties in with their diverse school experience (42 percent Hispanic, 22 percent white, 21 percent black, 10 percent mixed race, about 1 percent American Indian, ?1 percent Asian and 3 percent Hawaiian or Pacific Islander).
One of the highlights of the trip, everyone agreed, was getting a chance to make their own adobe bricks. It was that adobe and the historical spirit of cooperation they learned about that inspired them to write “Castillo de Lodo, the Castle of Mud.”
The song the students have written and are recording could be heard across the country eventually.
It started this summer when Julissa Vega, an instructional coordinator at Harrison School District 2, participated for several weeks in a Teacher Ranger Teacher program at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.