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Friday, March 16, 2012

150th Anniversary of the Battle of Pea Ridge

The Battle of Pea Ridge was fought in the area near Bentonville, Arkansas in March 1862, which helped to secure Missouri for the Union. It was one of the most significant battles in the entire Civil War, and it marked a dramatic turning point in the war in Arkansas. Missouri remained securely in Union hands, and the Confederacy in Arkansas suffered a defeat from which it would never fully recover.
*Whayne, J., Arkansas: a narrative history, p. 174.

The City of Bentonville commemmorated the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Pea Ridge with a reenactment in downtown Bentonville on Friday, March 9, 2012. Everyone was invited, and since the school where I am currently substituting is two blocks from downtown, then we were all going! Yes! The entire school was dismissed to walk downtown to view the reenactment. Fortunately the weather was perfect and also, security is not an issue here. We simply walked out of the building with our class, and 5th grade classes followed 6th grade classes. No streets were closed and traffic was not stopped. No added security was necessary. Just teachers, parents that wanted to attend, and students, walked from D Street up 2nd Street to Main Street and then we stood near the podium in the town square to observe the battle. It was fun, and I'm so glad that I got to experience this with the 5th graders in Bentonville!! The boys especially loved it, the girls squealled and covered their ears when the guns and cannons roared!

Here are a few photos from the 150th Commemmorative Reenactment of the Battle of Pea Ridge in Bentonville, Arkansas.

As you can see, it was a beautiful day. The night before the low temperature was 27 degrees Farenheit. But by 10:15 am when we set out to walk downtown, the weather had warmed to around 50 degrees, and continued to warm throughout the day.

Here we are just starting out.

Here we have reached downtown.

This Confederate Memorial is in the center of the downtown square.

Here we are facing the Courthouse.

This man was the storyteller. He would tell the story of the Battle as it was being acted out.

The other people are the town dignitaries/politicians.

The lady on the right is a news reporter. She is videoing the event.

The children on the steps are 6th graders. They had the best view.

The doves (or homing pigeons) were released as a tribute to those who died here in the battle long ago.

A Union Soldier.

The Federalists arrive in Arkansas.

Ready for battle!

They had to re-load!

The skirmish continues.

The class!

Crowds around the square.
The battle was fought all around the square so that everyone had a chance to see at least part of it.

Arkansas still considers itself a Confederate State in the Civil War, even though it was so far north and west,
most citizens of Arkansas sided with states rights and the south.

Time to return to school! The kids were all great, stayed together, no behavior problems at all.
They all lined back up, and we walked back to school.

This is just a pretty building we passed along the way back. This is also where we had to cross the street.

Since I have been substituting in the Rogers / Bentonville Arkansas area I have also been to the Walton Arts center to see a cultural arts program called "Stomp!" (I think that's the name of it.) And, I've participated in celebrating Ground Hog's Day! with a school in Rogers where the local celebrity Meteorologist Dan Skoff came to Emcee the event which also included the mayor and the crowning of the annual King and Queen of Ground Hog Day. I think the kids who attend school in this area are very fortunate that they have such a relaxed environment and because there are not any major problems they get to have a lot of fun at school.

After the reenactment, we returned to school, took a quick bathroom break, grabbed our sack lunches and went out to the playground for lunch together. We stayed an extra long time which included their usual Encore time (specials) and then we went back inside and resumed class for the afternoon. It was a great Friday!

Side note: Just off the downtown area in Bentonville is the new Crystal Bridges American Art Museum. We could have walked there from the downtown square. There are many nice walking trails and biking trails near downtown. The kids in school in Bentonville and the surrounding area are getting the opportunity to visit Crystal Bridges with their classes this year too, thanks to Wal-Mart.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Good News!

I have some Good News to share today! Tomorrow I will begin a long-term substitute teacher assignment in the Bentonville Public School system! I will be teaching a 5th grade Science class at Old High Middle School in historic downtown Bentonville, Arkansas for the next six/seven weeks while the regular teacher is taking off to have knee surgery. (Her surgery is early tomorrow morning, so please remember to pray for her to have successful surgery and a full recovery.)

Today I spent the entire day with the teacher and her students to "shadow" her for a full day which was incredibly helpful as I am "stepping into her shoes" at this point in the school year. She plans to return after six weeks, and during this time I will also have Spring Break, so it will really cover the next seven weeks. Her class will be learning about the Solar System, so I will be "re-learning" many interesting facts about the Sun and the planets that God has created so perfectly for us. (This of course reminded me of the sermon by Louie Giglio titled "Indescribable." If you have never heard this sermon or seen the video that goes with it, I highly encourage you to try to find it either online or in a church library.)

Throughout the next six/seven weeks, my prayer is that I will be patient with the students, that I will develop new friendships at school, and that I will have a positive impact on the lives of the students that I will have contact with each day. They seemed like great students today, so I hope this will continue. I'm sure it will be hard for the students to adjust to a new teacher because I could see how much they love their teacher today. The hardest part for me will be getting up early every day. I will need to be there by 7:20am each morning since the school day starts at 7:40am. But the good part of going early is that the school day will end at 2:40pm.

I am so thankful today for this new opportunity, and I'm looking forward to the next six/seven weeks as a fifth grade teacher.

I'll keep you updated on how it's going!