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Bartlesville Public Schools

Posted: Nov 21, 2019 3:05 PMUpdated: Nov 21, 2019 3:26 PM

Two Teachers to Feed 242 Students, Teach Thanksgiving

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Garrett Giles

240 eighth grade students and a handful of teachers at Bartlesville's Madison Middle School will enjoy a Thanksgiving treat on Friday.

History teacher Marsh Boomer said his eighth grade class and Mike Lawson's eighth grade class will enjoy a dozen turkeys donated by Wes Wilson, the manager of Walmart in Bartlesville. Dorthy Cook, the owner of Sugarica has also donated sweets for the kids to enjoy on Friday.

Governor William Bradford will be portrayed by Gary Kilpatrick. He will be talking about the pilgrims and the Mayflower Compact. This will take place the day before the students go home for Thanksgiving Break.

Boomer said the event has grown over the years. He said it has become a "Madison family gathering."

It started about 10 years ago when Boomer was teaching Social Studies at Wesleyan Christian School in Bartlesville. Both he and Kilpatrick attend First Wesleyan Church, and they got to know each other. When they found a similar interest in history, Boomer would have Kilpatrick attend his classes and speak.

They started teaching Wesleyan students about the Gettysburg Address. Then they talked about doing something on the Mayflower Compact, which was a bit unnerving for Kilpatrick at first. Normally he studies different areas of history, but he started studying the pilgrims, Governor William Bradford, their way of life in the New World, and the first Thanksgiving.

The pilgrims were a devoted religious sect that left England for Holland for religious freedom. Then they came to America for religious freedom, but they were also looking to better their lives and survive economically. Kilpatrick said the pilgrims were looking for a better place in order to better their lives.

The pilgrims were looking for a way to survive economically and get away from the world. Not exposing their children to the big cities and Europe and living off the land is what the pilgrims strived for in America as well.

Boomer called the Plymouth Colony the pilgrims inhabited "the seed." That, along with the Jamestown Colony, were the foundation that built America in his eyes. Boomer said the Jamestown Colony had a very rough go of things while the Plymouth Colony had one rough year and thrived from their relationship with the Wampanoag Tribe. That led to the great harvest that led to the Thanksgiving traditions we celebrate today.

It is easy to see that Boomer and Lawson want the best for their history classes. They say they know history can be dull, but they want to engage their students in the life that was had in our nations' past. In doing so, they put on live reenactments for their students to participate in.

Lawson said they hope the 242 eighth graders that will walk away from the Thanksgiving presentation on Friday know more about community and relationships. He said it is these ingredients that make history so vital, and it is the reason why he loves connecting this history to what is real and new for the students every year.

Students will sometimes tell Boomer and Lawson that this is the first time that they have ever had a Thanksgiving meal before. Boomer said that is rare, but it does happen. Even with the students that have great Thanksgiving traditions at home, Boomer said the kids will be asking about the meal in August when school starts again.

Thanks was sent out to Madison's Principal Joey Edison and Assistant Principal Morgan Axsom. Boomer said he is proud to work for individuals that are 110-percent behind them. Others that support this cause were also thanked by Boomer and Lawson.

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