It’s another day in Hastings, and Superintendent Dr. William McKersie is doing what he calls his routine "walk-about" through the bustling halls of Farragut Middle School.
On the itinerary is a visit to Kyle Case and Donna Gamble's fifth grade class for a guest reading of "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere," the 1860 poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Part of a districtwide program that uses curriculum-based
books recommended by teachers, the reading is one of many that Dr. McKersie has
given this school year.
Excited to continue their unit on the American Revolution, students sat patiently in groups of three waiting for Dr. McKersie to begin.
“Does anyone know anything about Paul Revere?” McKersie asked the class.
An eager display of hands rose before one student was called upon.
“He rode around on his horse!” the student exclaimed.
“Yes, that’s right,” Dr. McKersie said before giving the class some historical context.
Dr. McKersie went on to explain that Paul Revere, an American Patriot, did, in fact, ride his horse through the countryside. Longfellow’s poem, written in the spring of 1860, is a stirring retelling of that evening on April 18, 1775, when the British were moving troops out of Boston in order to arrest revolutionary leaders in Lexington. Revere road through the night to warn them.
As the reading commenced, students were asked to take note of how the poem made them feel and to study the art on each page. Afterwards, they studied a map showing the route taken by Revere and his compatriots, William Dawes and Dr. Samuel Prescott, and their locations in relation to the British Army known as the Redcoats.