The story of Theodore Roosevelt and Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay is one that has fascinated Americans from coast to coast. So when National Park Service rangers came to J. Taylor Finley Middle School to meet with eighth graders, the teenagers proved to be a very receptive audience.
The visit was sponsored by Huntington PTA Council’s Arts in Education Committee. The three rangers discussed their work and the “top ten things you probably didn’t know about Theodore Roosevelt.” The colorful and informative PowerPoint presentation easily kept the attention of the eighth graders.
A Google Arts & Culture tour of Sagamore Hill enlightened students about the famed estate, which was dubbed the Summer White House during Mr. Roosevelt’s presidency.
“Having the National Park Service rangers at Finley was a powerful way to entice students to realize the importance of this central historical figure; one of the most productive presidents our nation has had and to motivate many to visit his home, right here on Long Island and only a ten minute ride from Huntington,” said Joseph Leavy, district chairman of humanities, 7-12.
The rangers made the experience even more meaningful for the Finley students by discussing three reasons why Mr. Roosevelt should matter to them. A presentation covering the Pure Food and Drug Act, child labor laws and the 1906 Antiquities Act, which was used to protect treasured locations of natural, cultural and scientific importance, including the Grand Canyon fascinated the eighth graders.
The three Sagamore Hill National Park Service rangers included Huntington High School alums Laura Dabrowski Cinturati and Marie Clifford. Ms. Dabrowski Cinturati went on to earn a BA in history at Wellesley College and an MA in museum studies at Johns Hopkins University. Ms. Clifford holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
“Since TR made the trip to us in Huntington back in 1903, we all can make an effort to visit his home in Oyster Day and even 100 years after his presence among us, we can learn from what he left for us as a nation,” Mr. Leavy said.
The rangers spoke to students in social studies classes taught by Kim Finneran, Jarrad Richter and Melisa Jasinski. “These teachers are all true historians of American history who fully appreciate the contributions of TR to our country,” Mr. Leavy said.
The field trip in reverse brought Mr. Roosevelt’s colorful personality to life and helped the eighth graders learn more about Sagamore Hill and its place in American history.
“It was such a great experience for my eighth grade students,” Ms. Finneran said. “Lana Dubin, our Sagamore Hill/Teddy Roosevelt expert was so knowledgeable about the Progressive Era and helped us preview vital information for subsequent units we will study.”