Taking a field trip is nothing unusual. Taking that trip back in time is, well, mind-boggling!
Students from Adventist Prep not only study history, they experience it. Just south of Santa Fe is a museum, El Rancho de Las Golindrinas, which is a working Spanish Colonial ranch from the early 1700s. A visit to the museum is a memorable experience in itself, but is made so much more so when they host the annual Civil War reenactment.
Participants from Colorado, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico reenact the famous battles of Valverde, Glorieta Pass and Apache Canyon, when Confederates from Texas invaded the Territory of New Mexico in the early spring of 1862. The Texans defeated the Union forces at Valverde (Fort Craig, near Socorro), occupied Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and were on their way north to capture Fort Union, when they were finally stopped at Glorieta Pass. Colorado volunteers joined New Mexican volunteers and Army regulars. The Texans were gaining the edge in the battle until a group of Union men were able to get around the Confederates and destroy their supply wagons, forcing their retreat.
Students from Adventist Prep were able to dress up in period clothing and participate in the living history. Sleeping on the ground in a Sibley tent, cooking over an open fire, and using candle lanterns at night were just some of the experiences. Staying warm in the cold wind, rain and snow was another challenge.
Indiana Thompson loved the battle and splashing in the stream.
Yasandi Portillo said, “I like wearing the long skirts!”
Cheyenne Martinez enjoyed going up to the old school house and playing school. “I love the battles — they’re cool,” Cheyenne added.
“I liked playing along the stream,” quipped Judith Portillo, who also liked the battles.
Liberty Thompson, who has been reenacting since she was six months old, showed the other girls how to dress, fit into the 19th century and stay warm. Liberty enjoyed the candlelight tours Saturday night, during which re-enactors played out little scenarios like ghosts from the past.
Reading text books is one thing, but when students have an opportunity to see history, or even more, when they can experience history by participating in it, living it like it actually was … these are memories that will never be erased and that will bring education to its highest level.