EDISON — The Wardlaw-Hartridge School seventh grade class enjoyed the annual trip to Colonial Williamsburg from Nov. 26-30. The students were accompanied by chaperones Nancy Duddy and Hugh Duddy of Westfield, Noreen Jafri of South Plainfield and Lilah Terwilliger of Westfield.
Students participated in a variety of activities during the week to enhance their understanding about Colonial times. They toured historical sites in Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown and kept journals of their experiences.
In Jamestown, the students visited a Powhatan village and sat on a pile of furs in a Native Indian hut. Students twisted natural fibers into rope and prepared hide. They boarded a full-scale replica of the Susan Constant, a ship that carried some of the first English colonists to the Jamestown settlement. A colonist soldier fired his musket in the settlement and the students learned about the lifestyle of these early settlers. Some students mimicked a trade between the Indians and colonists, trading corn and fur for woven cloth and colored beads.
In Williamsburg, the group visited the Governor’s Palace. The students dressed in the latest fashion in Benjamin Powell’s house, learned about the grim conditions of the Gaol (Jail) and heard about herbs and surgery in the apothecary.
“It was like going back in time when I met James Inus the Esquire and Alexander Purdie,” Mia Reyes of South Plainfield said.
“The scenery was intriguing and made you feel like you were in 1776,” Aaliah Burney of Plainfield added.
On Nov. 28, the group visited the magazine, where colonists stored their arms and gunpowder. They later marched to the Governor’s Palace to mimic the protesting townsfolk after they had learned that the governor emptied their supplies for himself. Inside the palace the students were awed by the show of pomp and power displayed in the governor’s grand hallway and visited several rooms.
“I enjoyed learning about how they made guns and how they stored them,” Simu Singh said.
Mrs. Duddy’s group won the hoop and stick relay game and the students discovered that it was much easier getting out of the garden maze than into the center. The evening ended with a ball held by the gentry in the capital building.
In Yorktown the group visited a colonial farmhouse and a continental army encampment. Students squeezed into 7-by-7 foot tents in groups of six and realized some of the problems that soldiers faced. They also loved the cannon being fired.
The Great Hopes plantation gave the students a glimpse into the lives of slaves on a plantation. They also visited several traders in Williamsburg including the wig maker, shoemaker, blacksmith and cabinetmaker. They worked as a team to pull a bucket of water out of a 42-foot deep well and played thump ball. The evening ended in fun and laughter with African ‘mama and papa’ stories.
“Williamsburg was unforgettable,” Brittney Wilson of North Plainfield said.
“I don’t want to leave Williamsburg,” Noelle Sperrazza of Plainfield said as the students boarded the bus back to school.
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