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History never gets old for students visiting Colonial Williamsburg

Filed in BCHS, Student Spotlight by on April 17, 2019

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History lessons are traditionally only found on the pages of books or perhaps on-screen through documentaries. BCHS Lab School, however, built their 2019 spring field trip around experiencing the world’s largest living, breathing history museum: Colonial Williamsburg, first-hand.

The group’s itinerary began in the port of Baltimore where students explored marine science at the National Aquarium. Exhibits included a colony of seven bottlenose dolphins.

The students, in grades 9-12, then proceeded to Williamsburg, Virginia to tour the 300-plus-acre recreated town that served as the state capital until 1780. Students were taken inside the Capitol building to learn how colonists constructed a new government system with three distinct branches. The town contains a dozen craftsman workshops, private residences, taverns, shops, the Governor’s mansion, and a courthouse. Reenactors held a mock trial for a ninth-grade student who was “fined for failing to attend religious services,” a crime at the time.

“Seeing the trades being done by hand, by real people, really helped us experience the living conditions of our colonial ancestors,” explained junior Thomas Kranson. “They took great care to build houses, tools, and print books.”

The group also took advantage of some free time to tour the second oldest college in the United States., The College of William & Mary, adjacent to the historic site.

Jamestown Settlement was another stop on the students’ trip back through time. This site included a Powhatan Indian village and English military fort.

The Lab School group tempered its intense intellectual study with some fun by visiting Busch Gardens, home to some of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in the country.

“It meant a lot to us seniors that our teachers gave us time to have fun with our friends before graduation. Memories likes these last a lifetime,” reflected senior Anna Maker.

The final stop of the trip saw the group head inland to historic Charlottesville to tour Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello homestead and ended with a traditional southern meal at the legendary Michie Tavern, in operation since 1784. Monticello, whose likeness is on the back of the U.S. nickel, was a favorite for many students who were in awe of the beautiful landscape and surrounding gardens.

“Visiting Monticello really forced me to wrestle with the morality of this founding father. Did he truly believe in the line from his famous Declaration that “all men were created equal” if he, himself, owned over 200 slaves in his lifetime?” remarked freshman Nicole Cintron Ortiz.

Lab School rotates their spring trips between four iconic cities on the east coast: Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, and Williamsburg. Next year, the group starts the rotation over again by returning to Boston.