Eighth-graders turn back time at Cumberland Life Festival

Andrea Rose For Echo Pilot
Greencastle-Antrim first-grader Adelynn Ebersole turns the crank on a cider press to make apple cider, with the help of eighth-graders Diego Gonzalez, Foday Bangura, Colby Bowen and Isaiah Toney-Mayhugh during Friday's 44th annual Cumberland Life Festival at Tayamentasachta Center for Environmental Studies.

Fun fact: In the 14th century, many children were baptized in apple cider because it was cleaner than water.

That was just one of the lessons Isaiah Toney-Mayhugh and his eighth-grade classmates shared with younger students on Friday during the 44th annual Cumberland Life Festival at Tayamentasachta Center for Environmental Studies.

The annual event, open to students in kindergarten to grade 7 as well as the community, is hosted by Greencastle-Antrim eighth-graders.

"It's all student-driven," explained Megan Long, an eighth-grade teacher at Greencastle-Antrim Middle School. "They research each craft and present a paper on it in preparation for this event."

The eighth grade curriculum is all about the 1800s, and in addition to being a great way to make history hands-on for the students, it's also an opportunity for the older students to be leaders.

"They get to be teachers for a day," Long said.

Many of the eighth-graders dressed in period clothing for their presentations. Younger students could move from station to station, learning about a variety of early American life activities and customs.

Some students fished with primitive fishing poles, while others practiced games such as tug of war. There was also fudge making and music.

"This demonstrates how life was back in the 1800s," said Jordan Rist, an eighth-grader who was demonstrating apple cider pressing. "We've got square dancing, calligraphy, kettle cooking, pretzel making and sheep sheering, too."

"We've been working on this since March," added Colby Bowen.

"The best part is teaching kids about stuff they don't understand," said David Pittman.

"It's a really fun event."