NFA Hudson Valley Field Trip 2017
How much do you know about the place you call home? This was the question posed to Newburgh Free Academy students in ENL teacher, Jennine Sileno and ELA teacher, Ginny McCurdy’s classes at the beginning of September. Surprisingly, out of the 130 students quizzed, most had never toured Washington Headquarters or crossed the Hudson River by boat. In an effort to increase interest in the subject matter, articles written by Newburgh City Historian, Mary McTamaney, were used as practice material for close reading skills. Through the articles, the students learned about a wide variety of topics concerning the rich history of the area such as the Alsdorf Brothers, Ward Brothers, Hudson River ferries, and Orange Lake. While learning about the American Romantic Movement in art and literature, classes read Washington Irving’s short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” viewed artwork by the Hudson River artists and recited Hudson River crossing poetry by William Cullen Bryant and Walt Whitman.
Then in early November, on a beautiful autumnal day, eighty-three students and eight chaperones set out to experience their hometown as tourists. After taking a group picture in the Scenic Hudson’s Long Dock Park in Beacon, the entourage crossed the Hudson River on the Beacon/Newburgh ferry and walked to the Newburgh Brewery where NFA alumnus and recent Manhattanville College graduate Tashae Smith presented her research on the Alsdorf family using 19 century census forms and newspaper ads as primary documents. The students then toured Washington Headquarters, dined at the Wherehouse and digested their tacos strolling around the new park at Safe Harbors. The Crawford House was the last stop on the walking tour before the weary group boarded the buses and returned to NFA. The goal of exposing student to the history and beauty of their hometown surroundings was successfully accomplished thanks to the generosity of the Newburgh School District, Teaching the Hudson Valley’s Explore Award and GTI Graphic Technology, Inc.