Revolutionary War re-enactor and history professor-turned-guest speaker Charlie Prestopine visited Old Turnpike School’s seventh grade Social Studies classes on Wednesday, March 7 to present a program that brought to life what life was like for a soldier in General Washington’s Continental Army. Dressed in a period uniform and armed with authentic props from the late 1700’s which included weapons and camp gear, Prestopine candidly and passionately presented a history lesson that built on the seventh grade’s Revolutionary War curriculum unit that concluded the day before.
“The students buy right into this,” said Prestopine, a Sergeant in Helms Company, Second New Jersey Regiment, of Maxwell’s Brigade. “I think it’s my being in uniform, and having the weapons and tools that they used back then that makes it come alive. I tell them I’m a soldier in General Washington’s Army and that I am here to visit with them for a brief period of time.”
Prestopine demonstrated the use of everyday items such as muskets and hatchets, and explained what rations were like, how challenges such as disease, weather and mutiny were dealt with, and how Continental soldiers felt about their chances for a successful revolution against the British.
“I was blown away by his storytelling ability and the way he makes you feel as if you were there,” said seventh grade Social Studies teacher Peter Berg. “Charlie is a great re-enactor with a plethora of information relating to this time period. His use of the period artifacts and weapons really shows his love and knowledge in his subject of interest, the Revolutionary War.”
Wednesday’s program was funded by a Teacher Mini-Grant awarded to Mr. Berg by the Tewksbury Education Foundation (TEF). Additional information on the program, the TEF and other TEF programs can be found at www.tewksburytef.org or on FACEBOOK.