OKLAHOMA CITY — Fifth-grade students from schools in Norman and Moore will travel back into American history today when they participate in the 12th annual Colonial Day at the Capitol.
Activities will take place from 9:15 a.m. to 1:35 p.m. on the second and fourth floors of the Oklahoma State Capitol building.
Highlighting this year’s Colonial Day will be appearances by Colonial Williamsburg historical interpreter Lee Ann Rose, who will portray Martha Washington during the Revolutionary War period, and Mount Vernon historical interpreter Tom Plott, who will portray Dr. James Craik, George Washington’s close friend and personal physician. Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb is scheduled to welcome students to the event.
Nearly 500 Oklahoma fifth-graders dressed in colonial-period attire will journey back in time to meet historical figures and participate in such teacher-led sessions as colonial games, revolutionary soldier life, tinsmithing and archaeology.
The day will include a giant, student-led Bill of Rights rap during opening ceremonies in the House Chambers and debates between young patriots fighting for America’s independence and loyalists faithful to Britain’s king.
Oklahoma is the only state in the nation to host a Colonial Day event at its Capitol. The event is coordinated by teachers who have participated in the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute through a fellowship program administered by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence.
Teresa Potter of Fisher Elementary School in Moore, Jan Morris of Cleveland Bailey Elementary School in Midwest City and Vanna Owens of Little Axe Elementary School are coordinators of the annual event, which is presented in partnership with the foundation.
“Colonial Day is an engaging and action-packed day of learning that brings early American history to life for Oklahoma students,” Potter said. “By attending this event right in the legislative, executive and judicial chambers of our State Capitol, students also get to make connections between the founders of our Constitution and the freedoms and responsibilities we enjoy today as U.S. citizens.”
Other historical guests at Colonial Day include Benjamin Franklin, portrayed by Tulsa actor and educator Stephen Smith; one of America’s first female political activists Penelope Barker, portrayed by Teresa Potter; and Wyn Mabee, a female spy from the Revolutionary War, portrayed by Janet Bass of Oklahoma Christian School of Edmond. Brooke Potter, of Moore, will present a program on Revolutionary songs, while staff from the Oklahoma History Center will lead sessions on Colonial dancing and soldier life.
The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence will recognize winners of its Colonial Day Literature Contest during opening ceremonies at 9:15 a.m. in the House of Representatives Chambers.
Martha Washington will present a plaque and $100 to literature contest winner Zane Bridges, of Elgin Public Schools. The theme of the annual contest is “What It Means to Be an American.”
Area schools participating in Colonial Day at the Capitol are Fisher and Sky Ranch Elementary schools in Moore and Kennedy and Truman Elementary schools in Norman.
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