By: Sr. Bernadette McManigal
Eighth graders from St. Patrick School, Fredericksburg, learned about the relevance of history in today’s world when they visited Wagner Farm with Gov. Bob McDonnell. The day was planned to celebrate the protection of Wagner Farm, a farm located on the Chancellorsville Battlefield, as a point of historical interest for America and a site dedicated to environmental conservation.
Gov. McDonnell commented on the many events that had occurred on that site since the founding of our country. He is quoted in the Fredericksburg Free Lance Star as saying, “In Virginia, we’re blessed with so many incredible natural resources — oceans, mountains, history, battlefields from the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War. . . so many foundational moments in our history happened right here.”
St. Patrick student Donald Dihlmann understood the reasons for preserving Wagner Farm, “People fought and died here and its really important that no one builds on it and disturbs it.”
Our students are blessed to live near so many historical sites, which they can visit in person, recognizing that experiencing history is a formational part of each child’s education.
In fact, experiences like this field trip are mentioned in the Dream Statement, a motivational declaration for Arlington Catholic Schools. It states,
Our students, through their transformational educational, spiritual, and social experiences with clergy, educators, parents, and peers, emerge with a superior academic foundation, dynamic growing personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and a sincere desire to effect the world around them by leading a charitable, Christ-centered life.
As the students of St. Patrick show us, active, hands-on learning connects academic lessons with significant current issues such as historical and environmental conservation.