Thursday, May 30, 2013

TAHG Comes to an End

For the better part of five years, I've been a part of my school district's Teaching American History Grant.  There are lots of posts about our travels in June 2011 and July 2012 posts.  TAHG is federally funded, but like all good things (and especially those proposed by the government) it had to come to an end.  I have made so many friends in these years.  I've learned and grown as a teacher and very much enjoyed having people in my life that understand history jokes and puns.  I have traveled from Selma to Montgomery, sat in Martin Luther King Jr's kitchen at his breakfast table and stood at his pulpit, spoken with true leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, and walked through the hallowed halls of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.  I've walked through Jamestown, explore Jefferson's inventions at Monticello, walked the river banks of Washington's Mount Vernon, and spent an evening watching the sunset while chasing fireflies and sitting on Madison's Montpelier steps. I sat on the embankments of Ft. McHenry and felt the sweltering heat of the muggy Maryland summer without a breeze, imagining what 1812 was like with the British closing in on the fort.  I've been to D.C. twice and soaked up more experiences of wars, political intrigue, rock star legends, cuddly pandas, Abe, and Kennedy than one little blog post can handle.  I've been to Philadelphia and walked in the steps of the dedicated minds that set up a government that they hoped would last the test of time.  I've walked through Seneca Falls, remembering the struggle for women to be recognized as equals in mind and status.  I heard the echos of millions who entered our nation through Ellis Island, holding tight to all that Lady Liberty promised as they clung to her image and began new lives.  I felt the tremble of NYC from 9/11 as I circled Ground Zero.  I squinted in the bright lights of Time Square and rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous on Broadway and at Suddies.  I strolled through Central Park, lost in the scenes of families at play.  I climbed the steps of a tenement building, hearing the aches and groans of those who struggled to own the American Dream.  I pretended to be in a league of my own in Cooperstown.  I tasted the spray of Niagara Falls.  I sat on FDR's porch at Top Cabin and felt the cool morning mountain breeze.  I learned to weave on a loom at Lowell Mills and walked through the loudest factory imaginable.  I rocked below deck on the USS Constitution, pretended to be Chief Slapaho (inside history pun...) fighting off the British during the Boston Tea Party, followed the path to American Freedom, and dined on lobster in Boston.  I listened to the silence at Valley Forge and Gettysburg, letting that silence tell the stories of all those lost as our nation fought to be born and later fought to be saved.  The ache of agony at Appomattox Courthouse is still strong. I fell in love with America these last 5 years. 

Wednesday night was our celebration dinner of all that was accomplished in these years thanks to the faithfulness of Patti, our grant coordinator.  She made sure we were never bored (her ears and sanity depended on it), had the BEST docents and lecturers and profs in the country, and encouraged us to keep using the tools we learned in new ways with our students.  Thank you, Patti!
Natashia, Sara, and me
Patti with the t-shirt quilt we accumulated on our travels.  The background fabric is from Lowell Mills.

Katy singing us one more song.

The one and only Patti!

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