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Civil War Day at Port Chester Middle School

PORT CHESTER, N.Y. - It was Civil War day at Port Chester Middle School Friday as students from each grade participated in the festivities. The annual program was started eight years ago by Social Studies teacher Chris Halstead, and has since “really taken off”.

“Each year we’ve added something new to the program,” Halstead said, “This year we were fortunate to get some help from the Gilder Lehrman Institute in the City”.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American Society was founded in 1994 and is dedicated to "supporting the study and love of American history". The institute lent the school its "Looking at Lincoln" traveling exhibition.

In addition to the institute, Halstead has enlisted the help of a few local Civil War re-enactors.

“These guys come in every year, show the kids some period authentic weapons, and just talk about the daily activities of the men in the brigade," said Halstead.

The program also features Westchester blacksmith Bill Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald is the owner and operator of By Hammer By Hand, a custom ironwork shop in Mahopac.

“Bill has been coming for a few years now,” said Social Studies teacher Brett Conetta, “He’s been a blacksmith all his life, and he really gets into these types of presentations”.

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