EDISON – Seventh graders at The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison enjoyed the annual trip to Colonial Williamsburg from Nov. 18-22. The students were accompanied by chaperones Nancy Duddy, Hugh Duddy, Mike Howell, Noreen Jafri and Lilah Terwilliger.
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.
After strolling through the historic stores which line the Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg, students watched a military inspection lead by fife and drums. The evening was full of fun and laughter; seventh graders were entertained by stories passed down by slaves to teach important lessons. Students dressed in the latest fashion in Benjamin Powell’s house and learned about the grim conditions of the Gaol (Jail). The group practiced popular etiquettes of the gentry, danced the minuette, sang African songs and heard stories that haunt the grounds to this day.
“When I first walked into Williamsburg I was so amazed and instantly fell in love with it,” Briella Payami of Scotch Plains said. “I already knew I was going to have a lot of fun on the trip!”
“I really loved this trip; it was the perfect balance of fun and education,” Lara Jasti of Colonia added. “My favorite program was the Ghost Walk. We walked around Williamsburg in the dark and stopped at taverns to talk about true stories. At one of the taverns our guide told us that some people have taken pictures, and in the picture it was snowing, even if it never really was. On the bus while looking through pictures we found one where it was snowing!”
In Jamestown, the first colonial settlement, students learned how the Powhatan Indians lived compared to the early settlers. They sat among furs in a Native Indian hut and twisted natural fibers into rope. A colonist soldier fired his musket in the settlement and students boarded a full-scale replica of the Susan Constant, a ship that carried some of the first English colonists to the Jamestown settlement.
“This had to be one if my favorite class trips because I got to be very independent and learn a lot of cool ideas about Williamsburg that I hadn’t known before. I also got to tie in facts and objects in buildings with all subjects that we learn in school including English, History, Science, Math, and a little of language. My favorite part of the trip was having the freedom to walk around the town to explore,” Mika Walker of North Plainfield said.
“I especially liked our tour guide because he was informative and funny,” Stan DeLaurentiis of Plainfield added.
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.
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 raced to build buckets and played thump ball.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the African American music program. It really showed how music helped the slaves survive in their unbearable situations,” Sarah Hoffman of Cranford said.
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