(Patrick D. Rosso/Boston.com/2014)
South Boston students recently received a lesson in local history, after the South Boston Historical Society stopped by various schools in the neighborhood Friday morning to discuss Evacuation Day.
Dressed in period clothing, reenactors were at the Condon School bright and early Friday, to share with the school’s fifth-grade students the history in their own backyard.
Celebrated on March 17 and often overshadowed by St. Patrick’s Day, Evacuation Day remembers when the British Army was forced out of Boston during the Revolutionary War.
The day holds special meaning in South Boston, because American soldiers defended Boston from the top of Dorchester Heights, located in the center of the neighborhood.
“It’s a way to bring history to life for the kids,” explained Bob Allison, president of the South Boston Historical Society. “They’re the future and they need to understand their history and how we became a country and who we are. Hopefully they will then pass it down to their children.”
The reenactors toured five schools Friday, including the South Boston Catholic Academy, Cathedral High School, and Excel High School.
“It’s great for the students,” said Ann Garofalo, principal of the Condon. “When they can see the history acted out it makes it that much realer and easier for them to remember.”
As a fife and a drum provided the sounds of the time period, reenactors dressed as Henry Knox, Phillis Wheatley, Prince Hall, and John Rowe told their stories.
“It makes it so much easier for the students to connect to the past,” said Ben Monteiro, a fifth-grade teacher at the Condon. “They’re able to interact with the actors, ask questions, and learn. Fun learning is the best and it’s not always a luxury we have.”
Sponsored by Mt. Washington Bank, the event has grown in popularity, with close to 150 students participating at the Condon.
“It’s fun and it’s a great way to get them excited about history,” Allison added.