Mexico Students on a “Quest” to Study the Civil War

Quest2014-10-15-10.25.25-225x300The Western Foothills in the Civil War: Local & Legendary team is actively sharing their Civil War knowledge. Sixty-five 7th and 8th grade students at Mountain Valley Middle School in Mexico are in the midst of an in-depth study of Maine and the Civil War.

Every Wednesday throughout the year students do hands-on, project-based learning as part of the new Quest program. Each trimester students engage in a new Quest.

During this first trimester, students are learning about literature, history, math, and music through their study of Maine and the Civil War. They are reading Gary Paulsen’s Soldier’s Heart, creating exhibits and movies about the War, and hearing from guest speakers.


Teacher Craig Milledge talks to students in the Quest program.

The program is under the guidance of teachers Craig Milledge, a Local & Legendary team member, Ryanne Prevost, Steve LaPointe, and David Rossler. According to Mr. Milledge, “Students have taken a lot of ownership over their learning and we have seen a genuine increase in student engagement.”

IMG_0016On Wednesday, October 29, Doug Barber, Mountain Valley Middle School teacher, discussed and shared his amazing collection of Civil War documents and artifacts with the students. Barber’s great-great-grandfather, Private Henry Holden of Bangor, fought for the Union in the Civil War.

Barber shared several years of diaries, letters to and from home, certificates, photographs, buckles, buttons, a musket, and the bullet that felled his ancestor mere minutes into the First Battle Of Bull Run. Private Holden was subsequently captured and detained in a Confederate prison, but survived and was discharged in 1863.



The first group of students will finish their studies on November 19 at a culminating event at Rumford Public Library from 11:45AM-2:00PM during which they will demonstrate what they have learned. In addition to displays of their work, local veterans will be joining students for a Soldier’s Heart book discussion.

For more images of Doug Barber’s visit to the classroom, taken by Local & Legendary team leader Nick Waugh, visit this RSU 10 photo site for the project.

Thanks to Janet Lyons, Consulting Project Coordinator for Maine Humanities Council, for this post.


About mainechp

Maine Community Heritage Project at Maine Historical Society
This entry was posted in Grants, Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War, Maine Humanities Council, Maine Memory Network and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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