Students at Minford Junior High got to experience a little taste of what life was like for soldiers in the Civil War.
The school hosted a two-day camp for students, trying to keep conditions as real as possible, with the exception of blood-shed of course.
“I just wanted the kids to see first hand a little bit of what it was like to live like a solider. We’re not reenacting any battles but what life in general was like, even though this is still no comparison to what those men and women went through. Hopefully they’re learning that life is different back then and not to take things for granted like we do,” said eighth grade history teacher Lori Rolfe.
Beginning on May 11, students learned more about the Civil War through their own experiences role-playing as soldiers. Students had the option of leaving camp after school, staying til 9 p.m. or completing the full 31-hour camp. Teachers volunteered to supervise students and also participated in the fun.
Students rotated between stations, each focused on a different aspect of the war. From military training drills, games, journaling, laundry washing and setting up camp.
Students had to pitch their own tents, gather firewood, and learn how to sew their name badges on to their uniforms.
Local history buff, Connie Ison, assisted Rolfe and the staff with creating an air of authenticity about the camp. Ison is a long-time collector of Civil War memorabilia. She, along with other local collectors, came out to volunteer and bring items for the students to use.
“I’ve been doing Civil War camps for about 30 years. I’ve been coming out to Minford and helping the history teachers since my oldest grandson was in the 8th grade, each year it’s just become bigger and bigger. I have a traveling Civil War museum that I take around with me to different speaking engagements and schools,” Ison explained. “It’s been incredible to see the look on the kids faces today, they were amazed to see all this.”
In years past, Ison has brought her items and given speeches. But this year, eighth grade history teacher, Lori Rolfe, wanted to do something more hands-on for the students. She came up with the idea of a Civil War reenactment camp, and has worked alongside Ison all year to achieve her vision.
Students got to experience cannon and rifle demonstrations, line marches and Civil War singer Steve Ball shared songs with the students. During the first evening, they hosted a bonfire and Ison and Randy Rucker told stories.
Fifth grade teacher, Keith Wiehle spent the day smoking chickens and potatoes for the students dinner, and Ison made an apple spice cake for dessert using a Civil War era recipe. For breakfast the next morning, students made bacon and eggs on an outdoor stove and spent the afternoon cooking beans and cornbread over a fire.
According to Rolfe and Ison, the event was fun for both the students and the staff. They have hopes that the event will continue to grow and students will continue to be enthusiastic about the event.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-353-3101 ext. 1932, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.