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Pathways students walk path of Pickett’s Charge for Gettysburg history lesson

High school students from Pathways Hybrid-Learning School of East Earl, a Christian homeschool and group schooling association in Brecknock Township, Lancaster County, recently ventured out of the classroom and headed to Gettysburg for a history lesson.

“We hope that our students will gain an appreciation and respect for historical sites that are defined by the struggle and loss of life that occurred there,” said Rachel Graves, Pathways history teacher. “The entire trip was built around getting the students to see the photos and artifacts of the battlefield and the carnage in the museum before heading out and viewing those same sights in person. This helped to bring the past forward and share that reality with the kids.”

Three students at an explainer kiosk at Gettysburg Battlefield.
Students from Pathways Hybrid-Learning School of East Earl study the posed photo at Devil’s Den during a field trip to Gettysburg National Military Park on March 26, 2024. (Photo courtesy of Pathways Hybrid-Learning School)

Their field trip to Gettysburg National Military Park on March 26 started at the Visitors Center, where students viewed the cyclorama and toured the museum. From there, they followed the days of fighting around the battlefield.

The students began at the Eternal Light Peace Memorial on Oak Ridge, where the Confederates were able to push the Union forces from McPherson Ridge and through the town, where they dug into the south along Cemetery Ridge. The group then moved into the key locations of the second day along the Confederate stronghold of Seminary Ridge, and a few key battle points such as Devil’s Den.

Line of teen students walking in grassy field.
Students from Pathways Hybrid-Learning School of East Earl walk the Pickett’s Charge battlefield during on a field trip to Gettysburg National Military Park on March 26, 2024. (Photo courtesy of Pathways Community School)

As the final part of their Gettysburg experience, they started at the Virginia Memorial on Seminary Ridge and walked the mile-long path of Pickett’s Charge to the Union line on Cemetery Ridge, and the high water mark of the Confederate advance that brought the third and final day of battle to a close.

Pathways students have been learning about the Battle of Gettysburg as part of their American history curriculum.

“This field trip aimed to immerse the students in the site of a local Civil War battlefield as the class has been studying the Civil War this semester,” said Graves. “By immersing them in the sites and artifacts of an event or era that they have spent time studying they can then walk away with a more tangible understanding of that struggle.”

On the bus ride home, the students were asked, “How or why should sites like these be preserved?”

“The kids felt strongly about the preservation of these places as standing stones to the struggle that occurred there,” Graves said. “They also expressed frustration over the removal of monuments around the country that stand as reminders of conflict and struggle.”

One student, Morgan Zimmerman, stated: “Men and boys fighting for things they believe to be correct… It is a wonderful thing to see a man fight for what is right with such vigor that no power in hell can hold him back.”

“They deserve to be remembered, all of them,” student Ahna Brubaker added.

“As their teacher, I am very proud of their respect and desire to honor such places and those who fought there,” said Graves.

For more information about Pathways Hybrid-Learning School, visit or call Wanda Swarr at 717-715-9953.

Source: Berkshire mont

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