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Yorktown Students Live History

While the Battle of Yorktown may have taken place in Virginia, there was a different Yorktown Battle taking place at Crompond Intermediate School on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Over 300 fourth-grade Loyalists, Patriots, Hessians and Scottish student-soldiers swallowed their differences with historical chicken casserole and participated in the ninth American Revolution encampment to learn and live the history of the American Revolution.

John Pastore, the fourth-grade teacher who started the event nine years ago, said the idea was a result of his own learning experience.

At a course he took in Saratoga, Pastore was one of several teachers who was treated to a re-enactment of the American Revolution; and then promised a $1,000 grant if he would bring the project to his own school. The rest, is history.

"Not only are they learning it, but they're living it," Pastore said of the students.

For Pastore, the greatest part has been the ability to watch the event annually. This year was the largest encampment ever.

"We've gone from an initial 20 students, to 300 split over the two days," Pastore said.

For fourth-grader William Branca the day was a lot of fun but hard work.

"We marched and we sang songs and we ate lunch, but I learned it's really hard to pitch a tent, and it's also really hard to be a solider," he said, standing proudly dressed in his white jacket and holding his musket.

Students participated in workshops in the afternoon which ranged in topics such as colonial cooking, espionage, tin making, nursing and button making. Students also listened to middle-school social studies teacher Chris DiPasquale explain the life of a loyalist, dressed in his head-to-toe loyalist outfit, across from librarian Mark Creiner who taught students about different military artillery, which included instructions on how to work the canon sitting right on the pavement next to the school.

It was truly a learning experience for all, including volunteers like MaryAnne Ruvo, who's son Scott participated in the event took a bit of history with her.

"I had no idea the Scottish were even a part of the war and I didn't learn it until Scott came home and had to dress up in a skirt, that's when I figured it out," she said. "It's just amazing how much work they put into this. My son loves history, and this is just a great learning experience for him."

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