Lafayette School Cemetery Tour Goes Annual
The Chatham Borough Historical Society worked with students from Chatham High School to offer the tour annually.
Susan Allen of the Chatham Borough Historical Society updated the Chatham Borough Council on an effort to turn a walking tour of Fair Mount Cemetery into an annual field trip for Lafayette Avenue School students.
"We started thinking about, how are we going to get the children of this town to know what the background was of this village, how we all got here, who got it to where it is," Allen said.
Christine Grobert, a teacher at Lafayette and member of the Historical Society, and the society's school liaison, Amy Crandal, helped the society rearrange the tour to gear it toward young students.
The society reached out to drama students at Chatham High School and had them portray various people from Chatham's past. The tour for fourth-graders was held Wednesday, May 23, with about 350 students in attendance. "Every class went from position to position to position," Allen said, and reenactors from the high school taught them about different times in Chatham's history.
When the tour ended, Allen said students voted for the person who they thought was the most influential in Chatham's development. "Seventy percent of the kids thought [of] Jan Westfall, that if it wasn't for Jan Westfall, Main Street would look completely different," Allen said.
Students also received a coloring book portraying the history of Chatham on the tour.
Afterwards, students and teachers at Lafayette asked the society to turn the cemetery tour into an annual event. Chatham High students also offered to do the tour again. Allen said some of the fourth graders even asked if they could be reenactors when they reached high school age.
"It was so well received," Allen said, and will now become an annual event for Lafayette Avenue students.
The society first held the tour in October 2010, when it was open to all residents.