Central School Hike Through History’s 20th Anniversary

Friday was South Berwick's Hike Through History where students participated in being from the past to teach students of the present how things were in the working trades.

Friday was South Berwick’s Hike Through History where students participated in being from the past to teach students of the present how things were in the working trades.

‘Hike Through History’ celebrates 20th anniversary Two decades of students benefitted from experience By Mark Pechenik news@seacoastonline.com May 31, 2014 2:00 AM

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — Experienced hikers and hiking alums were among those who gathered at the South Berwick Public Library on Thursday to celebrate two decades of the “Hike Through History.” Through this learning experience, elementary school students hike through town one day each spring to interact with volunteers who recreate local historical traditions and practices. This year’s hike theme was trade, and students witnessed the efforts of a farmer, tinsmith, shoemaker, baker, woodworker and tailor as brought to life by volunteer re-enactors. For the celebration, however, the theme could very well have been growth. “This year, we’ll have 440 students from Central School, 60 students from Eliot Elementary School, and third grade, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes from Berwick Academy participating in the hike,” said Stewart. “It has become a real community effort.” Also participating were 180 middle school students who served as teaching partners and mentors for their younger partners and presenters. “In many ways, the hike has become a growing tradition,” said Stewart. “I’ve had students who have come back and said they really enjoyed it.” One of those hiker alums, David Whitney, was among the 20th anniversary celebrants. Speaking to guests and dignitaries, Whitney said, “I was one of the first groups of students who did the Hike Through History. I always liked history, but when I was able to go out and see places like the Hamilton House, it makes it real.” The audience also heard from Alicia Riordan, a more recent participant who is an eighth-grade presenter/coach. “It’s a lot of work, but once you get it down, it’s perfect,” she said of the hike preparations. Meanwhile, Jonah Noble, who enjoyed the Hike Through History for the first time last year, stated, “One of my favorite things is hiking and learning everything on the hike.” Also present were teachers guiding students through the experience. Among them was Ruth Trites, a former third-grade teacher at Central School who is now a reading teacher. During one of her favorite Hikes Through History, Trites’ students experienced what it was like to learn in a one-room schoolhouse. In another, they learned about the tradition of making snowshoes. The celebration included an appearance by local singer-songwriter Sammie Haynes, who performed her song, “The River in Your Town,” with assistance from third-grade and eighth-grade students. “I’m thrilled to be part of the Hike Through History. It’s a real honor,” said Haynes, who noted that Central School second-grade students recently illustrated a picture book based on her song. Other highlights featured a state legislature proclamation read by Rep. Bobbie Beavers which praised the Hike Through History as “a remarkable event.” “Thanks to this program, our children and families truly have a sense of place,” said Beavers after reading the proclamation. “This is education at its best.” The event concluded with servings of an anniversary cake decorated with the words “20th Anniversary Hike Through History 1995-2014.”


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