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Diving into history at Lowcountry History Day

Published on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020

Lowcountry History Day at Westview Elementary Jan 13

BCSD photo / Monica Kreber

Lowcountry History Day offered different stations for Westview Elementary students to interact with – but the favorite station had to be the small canon that went off in front of the school every so often.

The anticipation of the canon going off was usually met with students plugging their fingers into their ears, followed by excited screeches once they heard the “boom!” Members of the Powder Magazine – donning colonial garb – operated the cannon, and would then rally the students around to learn about the mechanisms and history behind the cannon.

This is the second year Westview Elementary has hosted Lowcountry History Day for its students. Students visited stations hosted by different organizations in front of the school Monday morning to get a hands-on experience with South Carolina history.

Kelly Stello, instructional coach for the school, coordinated the event.

“The whole purpose is that we want to bring history to life for our students, so we work in collaboration with HEF (which is Heritage Education Forum) and so students are exposed to all the local sites that they can visit on a daily basis, and really make history come to life,” she said.

“I want them to understand the relevancy of history,” she said, adding she wants the students to see the local connections, as well as the careers they can explore. “So I want them to have a great time, and learn lots.”

Stello said they hope to continue to make this a yearly event.

Lowcountry History Day at Westview Elementary Jan 13

BCSD photo / Monica Kreber

The Charleston Museum, Hampton Plantation, History Charleston Plantation, the South Carolina Historical Society, Patriot’s Point, Francis Beidler Forest, Colonial Dorchester, The Hunley and the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon all participated in bringing history to life for the students.

Students met John James the Blue Jay, a bird training to become an education bird for Audubon SC. The little bird was raised by a person who found him when he was very young and he ended up imprinting on humans.

Hampton Plantation did a presentation on the types of toys children used to play with – the games date back to the 1700s. Students got to try out the toys themselves.

Scrappy, the USS Yorktown mascot, also made an appearance and walked around the school grounds to wave at students and staff – and dole out high-fives.

 Principal Shawn Wimmer said the concept brings “the field trip to the school” for the entire school.

“They learn how South Carolina History impacts their world and they get hands-on activities from all the different organizations that come in and visit with us,” she said. “We’re really excited for them to have the opportunity.”

Wimmer said the hope is for children to appreciate where they live.

“There is so much history in our area and lots of them maybe haven’t been to every single place that comes to us so we want them to appreciate all that South Carolina and the lowcountry has to offer,” she said.

South Carolina history is part of what students study in third grade, but the school also wanted to tie the experience into college and career-readiness.

“So they’re learning how things are interconnected,” she said.

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Lowcountry History Day at Westview Elementary Jan 13

BCSD photo / Monica Kreber

Monica Kreber