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NEW HOLLAND, Pa. — On Nov. 9, 12th-grade students in Mark Leaman’s class at Garden Spot High School will come face to face with history. Thanks to a unique living history program, groups of students will get first-person accounts of key moments in 20th-century history from residents of Garden Spot Village who lived through the events.
“The purpose of the project is to help students make a connection and reinforce the information we are studying in class. Hopefully, they’ll also reflect on the ‘history’ going on around them in their current lives,” said Leaman, who has taught at Garden Spot High School for 12 years.
“This program gives Villagers an opportunity to share their stories with a younger generation, it acknowledges the insights acquired through each lifetime andenriches the lives of all participants,” said Colleen Musselman, director of life enrichment at Garden Spot Village.
Leaman introduced the living history program last spring, with several volunteers from Garden Spot Village.
“I thought it was positive for both the seniors and the kids, so I thought I would do it again,” Leaman said. Last year’s students were “very receptive, inquisitive and focused on the presentations.”
The students break into small groups, each with an adult born before 1950. Theywill address such topics as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the Three Mile Island crisis and the falling of the Berlin Wall. The class covers the period from the 1920s to the present.
So far, at least a dozen residents from Garden Spot Village have volunteered to participate in this year’s living history program.