Congressman, mayor view students' Civil War film

December 05, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

An 11-minute documentary about the Civil War that was written, acted, produced and edited by North Hagerstown High School students, was shown Thursday to Hagerstown Mayor William M. Breichner and U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md.

Before and after watching "The Gapland Legacy Project," the government leaders met with and thanked the students involved in making the film.

"I think it is important that we focus on our history," Bartlett said. "Focus on history will mean we are taking a new look at the past."


"I thought it was well done and I am very happy to see local history playing a role in our education here," Breichner said.

The movie was made by teacher Anne Stickler's North Hagerstown High School Advanced Placement U.S. history class, but other students also were involved in the production.

The next step is for students to learn how to go about getting copyright protection for the film, Stickler said.

For a triage scene for the film, 46 male North High students - spattered with dark chocolate to simulate blood - lined up on stacks of hay awaiting medical treatment from a teacher and their fellow students, who were dressed as Civil War-era doctors and nurses.

In explaining preparations for the movie, Stickler said she told people, "I am going to bandage them and douse them in chocolate."

The chocolate caused a problem that helped give the finished product an air of authenticity: It attracted bees.

When some of the "injured" soldiers appear to be writhing in pain, they actually are reacting to the bees, Stickler said.

After the screening, students involved in the film said the attempt to make history come alive was an enjoyable, educational experience.

Tyler Pangborn, a senior who helped direct the movie, said he learned how triage works.

Adrian Philp, a senior who played an amputee, held a position on the ground for about 20 to 25 minutes for a scene that was on screen for about five seconds. Being involved with the film made the Civil War and history seem more real, Philp said.

Derick Flohr, a senior, said he played a "stretcher carrier." Flohr, who plans to teach history one day, said his interest in military history has increased because of the project.

The class project was sparked by the work of Forest Glen Commonwealth, a Kensington, Md.-based nonprofit historical preservation and education organization, that is in the process of obtaining a 7.5-acre site off Gapland Road and Md. 67, its president, Rick Lank, said.

On that land are a farmhouse and barn that once served as a Civil War field hospital. Forest Glen Commonwealth wants to preserve the site as an educational center where students could experience hands-on learning about the history of their area and nation.

The organization is partnering with the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Md., on the learning center project.

The film will be shown at the learning center when it is built and perhaps at other Civil War-related sites, Stickler said.

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