History Comes Alive for Warren Students
Submitted by Shannon Regan
American History came alive for many Warren Township Schools students on Thursday, June 6, 2019. Each year in May for one day, the Warren Middle School (WMS) Peer Leaders act as docents and guide other Warren Township students through some of the nationally recognized historic locations within Warren Township.
This year grade 4 students from Angelo L. Tomaso School, Central School, Mt. Horeb School, and Woodland School were selected to participate in this very special field trip. The Peer Leaders were spread out between four historical locations accompanied by their teachers, Mr. Bob Hartshorn, social studies teacher, Mr. Jim Zilinski, social studies teacher, Mrs. Josephine Brasile, special education teacher, and Mrs. Lynn Degen, social studies teacher, prepared to cultivate an understanding of each location to the elementary school children.
The sites along the tour included Angelo L. Tomaso School, where it is believed that during the Revolutionary War the Continental soldiers set up the First Middlebrook encampment. Next, Kirch Ford House; experts have concluded that the house was built around 1750 and local belief is that a secret room within the house may have been a part of the Underground Railroad or even a hiding space for a Revolutionary War soldier. Third stop, Mt. Bethel Baptist Meeting House on King George Rd. This Church originally stood at a different location but was disassembled and moved to its current location in 1785. Students respectfully toured the church as well as the cemetery behind the church where known soldiers from the Revolutionary War are buried. The fourth location along the tour was Washington Rock. This location served as a lookout point for General George Washington during the Revolutionary War. From that vantage point, General Washington was able to view the British troops as they neared Westfield and could better instruct his own troops.
Each Peer Leader played a key role in inspiring the young minds of the grade 4 visitors. “This is the first year we provided the trip to the 4th graders rather than the 8th graders. The 4th graders’ excitement, curiosity, and enthusiasm were evident and we appreciate their teachers partnering with us to provide this program to these students. The Peer Leaders enjoyed creating and delivering their programs to them,” stated Degen.
Mr. Rory Britt, who is a Warren resident, local historian, member of the Cultural Heritage Commission of Somerset County and chairperson of the Warren Historic Sites Committee was so impressed by the confidence, maturity, and preparedness of the Peer Leaders on June 6, he invited them to volunteer during the Somerset County Weekend Journey through the Past that will be held on Saturday, October 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 13 from noon to 4:00 p.m. This event will be open to the public, free of charge. A list of Somerset County’s participating historical sites can be found by visiting the Somerset County website.
Photos by Warren Township Schools