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Civil War Encampment tradition continues at new middle school

Leah Ibrahim, portraying Clara Barton, patches up the leg of a wounded Union soldier depicted by Derek Kodger. (West Life photo by Emily McIntyre)

By Emily McIntyre

Westlake

Eighth-grade students gathered at Lee Burneson Middle School Wednesday night for the school’s annual Civil War Encampment, put on by the three history teachers and several parent volunteers.

Approximately 28 students were selected to re-enact a famous or fictional figure of their choice from the Civil War era.

“When (the teachers) first started talking about how we didn’t have to interact with the audience, I immediately thought of a nurse talking to a patient. I searched up nurses and found Clara Barton,” said Leah Ibrahim, a re-enactor from the Blue Team.

While the encampment heavily relied on help from the volunteers and teachers, the student re-enactors stole the show.

Adam Goyetche, who performed the role of Marshall Anderson, was overjoyed upon learning he was selected to portray someone that night, declaring that he has a personal interest in history.

On the other hand, history teacher Brad Behrendt stressed the importance of learning about this period in American history.

“Everything we were since 1620 is pointing toward the Civil War, and virtually everything we are since 1865 is because of the Civil War,” Behrendt said.

Before the nine-minute re-enactments began, all eighth-graders enjoyed a traditional wartime dinner consisting of chicken and dumplings, freeze-dried vegetables, cornbread and pies donated by Giant Eagle and Gray House Pies, event coordinator Lauren Falcone said.

The encampment has evolved quite a bit since its debut around 1999.

“(Retired language arts teacher) Jon Thompson and I started actually camping with the kids on the soccer field the night before the ball. It was OK, it was fun, but it wasn’t really curricular,” said Behrendt, who is retiring this year. “Jon and I decided to have people from the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable come in. We have talent here … so we gradually started getting rid of a few of the Roundtable members. This is about the fourth or fifth year it’s been just eighth-graders.”

(Editor’s note: Emily McIntyre is a summer intern with West Life. She is a Westlake resident and sophomore at Ohio University.)

 

 

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