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Revolutionary War comes to Napa Junction
Ryan Caven, carrying Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense,” and his fifth-grade classmates, head for class at Napa Junction Elementary School. Kerana Todorov photo

Napa Junction Elementary School fifth grader Michael Collier used the sharpest dramatic skills he could muster as he tried to play the role of Sam Adams, a Founding Father of the United States.

“I will become the governor of Massachusetts,” Michael said standing in front of his 30-plus classmates in classroom 18. “Throw the Tea!” added Michael as his classmates dressed as characters from the American Revolution, including King George III, British Red Coats, American colonists loyal to King George III, and patriots wearing paper tricorn hats and bonnets, watched and listened.

Michael was among the fourth and fifth graders who took a step back into history May 21 as they participated in a “Walk Through the American Revolution,” an interactive history game a southern California-based company brought to the school.

Shawnda Hugo, a moderator for California Weekly Explorer, who arrived at Napa Junction Elementary School with boxes filled with muskets, a gold Liberty Bell, Revolutionary War flags, a map of the 13 colonies, and other props led the students through a “Walk Through the American Revolution.”

For two and half hours, the students reenacted scenes of the American Revolution, including Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Lexington and the Declaration of Independence. The students received points for reciting short biographies of their characters, including British Red Coats, Tories and patriots, as their teacher, Anna Salgado, recorded their marks.

On Friday, fourth graders participated in similar games, but this time based on California’s early history.

Suzanne Morrill, a fourth grade teacher at Napa Junction who organized the sessions, explained Thursday and Friday presentations were based on the curriculum. The school’s parents and PTA paid $1,400 to  invite California Weekly Explorer to the school as a field trip.

“The field trip was awesome!,” Morrill said Wednesday.  “The kids absolutely loved it and said that I was right we didn’t need to ride on a bus to go somewhere,” she said in an e-mail.

Keva Eschenberg, whose son, Jon, was assigned to play Paul Revere last week, attended last Thursday’s performance. Jon was eager to play his part, she said.

As she left the school, Eschenberg said she liked what she saw.

“I think (students) learn more and soak more of it in because they’re doing it themselves instead of watching somebody doing it,” she said. “I know they would have liked the experience of being somewhere else,” she said. “But they had a lot of fun. I don’t think they realized what they missed out on.”


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