Webster Students Show “Growing” an Interest in Thomas Paine and History at the Thomas Paine Cottage

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Thomas Paine Cottage2.jpgNew Rochelle, NY. On June 15, the second grade classes of Mrs. Barnes, Mr. Bergamini, and Mr. Minei, of Daniel Webster Elementary Magnet School completed the three part Seeds of The Revolution program with a tour of the Thomas Paine Cottage. Signature Bank generously donated the cost of bus transportation.

In his biography of Paine, Moncure Daniel Conway characterized the man as one who loved “…the flowers and birds of his garden…” The three-month living history program, developed by Huguenot and New Rochelle Historical Association (HNRHA) board-members, Rosemary McLaughlin and Kathleen Gallagher, aimed to provide an interactive learning experience by planting a native garden. This was achieved with help from teachers and administrators at Webster; wonderful students; volunteers Charles and William McLaughlin and Garden Club Members Virginia Peyser, Carol Dellafemina, and Clarie Lynch; Thomas Paine Cottage (TPC) staff; and donations from Heather Sasso of Rose Hill Nurseries.

In April varieties of flower and herb seeds were planted, watered, labeled, and placed on sunny classroom windowsills for eventual transplantation to TPC grounds. Next, John Wright, TPC Director, led a school assembly in May on life in colonial times; and volunteers picked up and transported the seedlings. During the final phase, students visited the local landmark and the Sophia Brewster One-Room School House, learned about New Rochelle history and life in the 1600s-1800s, viewed their garden, and experienced the home once occupied by one of the nation’s most illustrious Founders: Thomas Paine. An unscheduled lesson on interdependence in nature happened when it was discovered that chipmunks had sampled some recently transplanted herb sprouts.

Thomas Paine, patriot, writer and revolutionary, fashioned the words that motivated the colonists to fight for freedom and establish the “United States of America,” a title he coined. The Thomas Paine Cottage, situated on the remaining two acres of the original 320 given to Paine by New York State in 1784, is located at 20 Sicard Avenue, New Rochelle, NY.

The Huguenot & New Rochelle Historical Association is scheduled to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of operation of The Thomas Paine Cottage as a historic house museum on July 11th. For more information, phone 914-633-1776 or visit the website at www.thomaspainecottage.org.

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PHOTO CREDIT KG.

First Photo: Students view their garden on the grounds of Thomas Paine Cottage, led by Director, John Wright.

Second Photo: John Wright, Director, Thomas Paine Cottage, leads children in an interactive history session.