The other day, a scroll was slid under my door. In the safety and comfort of my secure office, I carefully began to read:
“General Washington, it appears that recent attempts to kidnap and poison you have failed. Thanks to your direction and the bravery and dedication of the Patriot spy ring, the Hessians’ plot has been exposed and contained. The British have been defeated at the Battle of Yorktown and Patriot victory is at hand. The mission has been successfully completed. It has been a pleasure serving under your command. In the words of John Dickinson – ‘then join hand in hand, brave Americans all! By uniting we stand, dividing we fall.’
Until Next Time,
The Culper Spy Ring (Agent Z)”
For nearly two weeks, assuming the role of Agent 711, I had taken part in an 8th grade Revolutionary War “live” lesson. When Ms. Wakelin asked me to participate, she hadn’t known that as a boy, every April 19th I awoke in the early dawn hours and scampered down the road from my New England childhood home to watch the re-enactment of the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Now, many years later, I engaged with brilliant 8th grade Revolutionary War strategists, negotiating deals and infiltrating counter spy rings to ensure that a nation would ensue. Just as I vividly remember riding my bicycle to the Concord Bridge and the Lexington Commons to watch history come alive, I am certain that these Laurel Hall students will treasure this lesson, long into adulthood.
Each day, I am reminded of every sound educational teaching and learning workshop I have attended throughout my career. Student engagement is the key to internalization of subject matter. It is what we do; it is who we are at Laurel Hall School. And every day, I am happy to report that we also honor the words of another American Patriot…
“Tell me and I forget; teach me and I may remember; involve me and I learn.”
- Benjamin Franklin