The halls were filled with voices from the past echoing in the present. One could have observed Orville and Wilbur Wright comparing notes with Leonardo da Vinci on flight; First Ladies Abigail Adams and Abigail Fillmore conversing about life in the White House; Christopher Columbus and Admiral David Farragut discussing changes in ships and sailing. This was but a taste of the diverse group of dignitaries that were this year’s “invitees” to Tree of Life Christian Preparatory School’s (Fredricksburg, Va.) 10th annual Biography Tea, held Thursday evening, October 26.
Claudia Mills, author of 57 books and former associate professor of philosophy at University of Colorado Boulder, was this year’s special guest. Her book Being Teddy Roosevelt was the inspiration forRebecca Durichek, teacher at TLC Prep, 10 years ago. In the book, a teacher assigns each of her students a person from history to research and become an expert on. The children “become” their character–complete with dressing as their character and being in character the entire school day –at a Tea/Luncheon, which is the culminating event of the book.
After reading this book Durichek shared, “I was inspired to have my 1st – 4th grade students participate in a similar interactive way to share learning about heroes in history. That’s what learning is all about–being hands-on.” Students in grades 5-8 then asked if they could participate the following year, and a new tradition was born. Durichek also shared that it has been her dream for Mills could be a part of the 10th anniversary event.
Mills not only attend the event, she spent the previous day on campus for TLC Prep’s Literacy Day; activities included storytelling and crafts, and reading workshops with students in grades K-8. In the afternoon Mills lead grades 3-8 in a writing workshop.
Thursday evening’s event began with a parade on the red-carpet of each of the evening’s guests, among whom were: Geronimo, Rosa Parks, Betsy Ross, Booker T. Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Beethoven, Tony Romo, Gutzon Borglum, as well as the aforementioned Admiral Farragut, Christopher Columbus, Leonardo da Vinci, the Wright brothers, and First Ladies Adams and Fillmore. Following this each was “interviewed” by Principal Janet Armstrong–aka Helen Thomas–before attending a very special soiree (the Tea part of Biography Tea) held in their honor.
Friday, November 3, the students will take their Biography Tea “on the road” to Chancellor Village, a nearby retirement community, sharing what they’ve learned about their characters with many of the residents.
Written by Janet Armstrong, principal of Tree of Life Christian Preparatory School