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Northport Middle School

Students and parents address the board during a standing-room only board meeting Nov. 7, after air quality issues have resurfaced at Northport Middle School. Photos by David Luces

A day that began with over 60 parents and children participating in a “sickout” protest in front of Northport Middle School ended with a public meeting later that night, where the seven-member board of education unanimously voted to begin soil testing at the school. 

A packed crowd at the boarding meeting Nov. 7. Photos by David Luces

A crowd of concerned parents and community members packed into the standing room only public meeting at the William Brosnan School. Many parents voiced dissatisfaction about how the school district has been handling recent incidents with foul odors at the middle school, saying that soil and groundwater testing are long overdue.

Many people blamed illnesses, such as cancer, headaches, nosebleeds, mold infections and other serious diseases, on the school’s long history of air quality issues. 

Board President David Badanes and Superintendent Robert Banzer both reiterated to the crowd that according to experts, the middle school is safe for operations.

“Since 2017, we have made major capital and personnel improvements to the school and have corrected issues found in a 65-year-old building, as well conducted environmental testing and engaged experts from the Department of Health, the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Center of Long Island and the Icahn School of Medicine,” Banzer said. “In their professional assessments, all have indicated that the middle school is safe for occupancy. Without the assurances of these professionals we would have not occupied the school.”

“In their professional assessments, all have indicated that the middle school is safe for occupancy. Without the assurances of these professionals we would have not occupied the school.”

– Robert Banzer

The district expects that soil testing and the creation of a subcommittee will quell any remaining concerns and help bring a divided community back together. 

The subcommittee will be made up of 10 members, which will include board trustees, parents, district staff and professional experts. Together they will work on an analysis and come up with parameters of the soil testing. 

The timetable for the subcommittee’s actions has already been established. On Dec. 12, recommendations will be given to the board identifying experts that will conduct soil testing and additional analysis. December through January, soil testing begins. January-February, assessment of soil testing results. By March, the district expects a final report, which will include recommendations given to the board.  

Parent Lauren Handler called on the board to stop utilizing the services of Hauppauge-based firm J.C. Broderick, which has come under scrutiny for some of its previous reports and findings at the middle school. 

She also asked for a comprehensive review of all previous testing done at the school, additional groundwater testing, cesspool testing, and investigating the environmental impact of the VA Hospital and Covanta among other things. 

“If any part of this testing cannot be completed, or if testing is completed and the source of the result cannot be identified and remediated, than this building should be closed,” Handler said. “If this request cannot be met, I’m asking the superintendent and board members to step down.”

 A number of speakers called on the board to consider appointing an independent broker to select the consultant and experts that will be on the committee. 

Tammie Topel, a former board member who served for six years, said she previously brought up health concerns to the board.

A Northport Middle School student addresses the board Nov. 7. Photos by David Luces

“I am a former board member and when I was on the board two years ago, I requested for soil testing more than once,” she said. “Especially during one of my final board meetings, when I learned two former students had developed aplastic anemia.”

Topel, a nurse by profession, said proposals to approve soil testing at the middle school were voted down twice during her tenure. 

“Why didn’t we do this two years ago?” she asked. 

A number of parents also accused the board of not being up front with information about student illnesses at the school.

“I’m alarmed and disgusted by some of these things I just learned recently,” Michael Figeroura, an emergency medical technician for the New York City Fire Department and parent, said. “I find it disgusting when kids are complaining that they have headaches or smelling metallic things, they go to the nurse and all that gets done is that they check their temperature.”   In addition, Figeroura criticized Timothy Hoss, Northport Middle School Principal, for his handling of the situation.

“Who tells them [the students] after he comes into the room that there’s nothing there … But miraculously 30 minutes later there’s an email, a text message and a phone call — that yes there was some type of smell in the air and that they are working on the ventilation systems,” he said. “I want something to be done, we absolutely need more testing now and later.”

He also called for better trained medical staff in the schools. 

“For a nurse to check the temperature of a child after they complained about metallic smells, it is unacceptable,” Figeroura said. 

Timothy Heck, an accountant and community member, was one of a number of individuals that proposed the idea of moving the middle school students to another building in the district, arguing that the district has the available space due to declining enrollment. 

“I did a rough estimate myself and I figured from the administrative and operation costs, it costs around $2.5 to $5 million to keep one of the schools open,” he said. “What makes sense to me is that you could close one of the schools down and move the kids to this building or one of the grade schools.”

Heck cited a 2015 demographic study done by the district, where they projected that about 502 students were expected to be enrolled in the middle school in 2024 compared to 2007 when it had a peak of 908 students. 

Similarly, at a board of education budget meeting in January, the district projected that the schools have lost nearly 1,165 students since the 2011-12 school year. 

It’s unclear if board members are considering that option. 

Three board of education trustees have been appointed to the committee: Vicky Buscareno, Larry Licopoli and Tom Loughran. If you are interested in being considered for the subcommittee please send an email to: boe@northport.k12.ny.us.

 

More than 60 students, retired teachers and concerned community members gather in protest at Northport Middle School. Photo by Donna Deddy

November 7 should have been a normal school day at Northport Middle School, according to a letter that the district sent out to its families on Tuesday. However, community members organized a protest called a “sickout” Thursday morning because of ongoing concerns that date back decades with air quality issues in the building.

Most recently, a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system installed in 2018 is being blamed for causing what the district calls “unpleasant odors” in certain wings of the building. That situation, the district states, has been addressed. After inspections, it found no visible cause for the problem. It has attributed the odor to heating elements being used for the first time and debris captured in drip plates on the building’s roof. No evidence of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, airborne particulates or mold was found in its air sampling, the district said.

However, children were complaining of “dead animal smells” that caused headaches, coughing and vomiting, and after decades of ongoing health concerns, parents, retired teachers and other community members are calling for stronger action.

“The building needs to be closed,” Tara Mackey said.  “No question about it.”

“The building needs to be closed, no question about it” 

– Tara Mackey

Her child’s blood work, she said, identified a clear pattern of carbon monoxide exposure that spiked during school sessions and cleared during school vacations. The family ultimately moved last June in response to the concern after what she calls a two-and-a-half-year ordeal.

More than 600 students attend Northport Middle School on Middleville Road. The district did not respond to repeated requests for information on the number of students that have fallen ill from the latest air quality concerns at the school. People interviewed for this report and state on Facebook that their children in the past have suffered with nose bleeds, chronic coughs to the point of vomiting, asthma and headaches.

Parents, who have conducted their own informal study, have identified 18 students who were diagnosed over the last 10 years with leukemia, lymphoma and aplastic anemia, all rare diseases often caused by environmental exposures. Four children, they say, have died. 

New York State Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R-East Northport) has asked the New York State Department of Health to conduct a longitudinal study in response to the concerns in a Nov. 1 letter. Earlier this year, lawmakers requested studies, when they learned that five recent Northport High School graduates from the same graduating class were diagnosed with blood cancers. That study is ongoing.

Northport Middle School renovated wings of its school in 2018 to address ongoing air quality issues. Photo from Northport-East Northport School District

“We are continuing our review of cancers reportedly developed among former students of the Northport-East Northport Union Free School District,” said Erin Hammond, press officer for the state health department. “We look forward to sharing our findings with the community in early 2020. Any further investigation will depend on the findings of the ongoing review. Again, genetics, lifestyle choices and environmental exposure histories are all potential contributing factors for cancer and are taken into consideration in incidence investigations.”

Former teachers have also reportedly fallen ill. John Kobel said that he has skin cancer, prostate cancer, heavy metal contamination and occupationally induced respiratory disease after working in the science classroom in the middle school, where he said chemicals were improperly stored in a closet cesspool. The sinks’ drains, he said, also lacked traps as code dictates. The former teacher surveyed about 200 to 300 staff members and learned that 33 former teachers also have cancer.

Government officials have said in telephone interviews that they want to avoid public hysteria.

But the lack of adequate oversight has been a concern. Some people say that there is a cover-up. They say that district officials have not completed shallow and deep soil and groundwater testing on-site or published copies of the inspection reports for two 4,000-gallon underground storage tanks that store the diesel fuel for the districts buses, which refuel at the same location. They also wonder, when prompted, why the district decided against comparing the reasons for health office visits at the district’s two middle schools. They worry about underground plumes and exhaust from idling buses at the district depot on-site. There’s also been concerns about mold in the building. 

The site is also roughly two miles from the Covanta plant, a facility that burns 750 tons per day of municipal waste from residential, commercial and industrial sources. The facility, which began operations in 1991, also incinerates the combustible portion of construction and demolition (C&D) debris, light industrial waste, shredded tires, sewage treatment plant sludge and other nonhazardous industrial waste streams on-site as approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on a case by case basis. 

Covanta Huntington, also known as the Huntington Resource Recovery Plant, is a major source of air emissions in the region and is considered among the largest in New York. The region’s air quality for oxides of nitrogen and VOCs exceed safe standards, which causes asthma and other respiratory ailments. But the facility’s emissions are within all permissible limits set for the plant by the DEC. 

“It’s just not possible for Covanta to be a factor,”  James Regan, media relations director. “Other schools, the Fifth Avenue School, Bellerose Avenue and Commack Union Free Schools are also close by, and they have no odor complaints there.”

Prevailing winds, Regan also said, blow its emissions in different directions. The company, he said, will gladly host a site tour to show community members how the facility works and cannot possibly be the cause.

The Suffolk County Department of Health states that schools fall under the state’s jurisdiction. The state department of health states that “local school districts are responsible for monitoring air quality in its schools.” The state health department added that it’s available for technical assistance, if requested.

Through its public relations firm, the district states that it has reached out to the state for assistance. 

In the past year, the school has changed its refueling schedule for buses on site, renovated wings of the school, removed hazardous material stored on-site below classrooms and installed new ventilation equipment, among other actions taken.

The district stated in its Nov. 4 letter that the school board will discuss and approve more testing and form a committee to further review the situation at its Nov. 7 board meeting. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at W.J. Brosnan School, 158 Laurel Ave., Northport.

The district has documented the actions it’s taken and its correspondence with the public and teachers union on its website. 

The Facebook page Close Northport Middle School Long Island, New York states that more than 50 people signed up to attend the “sickout.” They are calling on kids to wear blue to school, if they plan on attending classes to support the cause. 

David Luces contributed to this story. 

 

 

Northport Middle School's newly refurbished K-74 classroom. Photo from Northport-East Northport school district

Students can safely take a deep breath while attending classes in the newly reopened K-Wing of Northport Middle School.

Northport-East Northport school district has reopened the K-Wing of Northport Middle School for student and staff use after environmental testing for volatile organic compounds conducted by consultants J.C. Broderick & Associates Aug. 27 determined it was safe for use. The study and its conclusions were reviewed by officials in New York State’s Department of Health.

“[T]he levels of volatile organic compounds detected at the time of the sampling are well below any levels that have been associated with adverse health effects.”

— Michael Hughes

“Based on the air concentrations and information presented in the report, the levels of volatile organic compounds detected at the time of the sampling are well below any levels that have been associated with adverse health effects,” wrote Michael Hughes, a section chief in the state’s Bureau of Toxic Substance Assessment, in a Sept. 4 email. “The NYSDOH therefore concurs with the conclusion in the report that staff and students occupy the K-Wing in the school.”

On Aug. 27, J.C. Broderick & Associates staff conducted volatile organic compound, or VOC, sampling in K-Wing classrooms to determine if extensive summer renovations had resolved indoor air quality concerns. The district had closed off the area for the 2017-18 school year after an earth science teacher reported smelling gasoline fumes and an investigation found the source to be a petroleum-based warehouse beneath the K-wing.

The testing was performed using 26 cannisters, according to J.C. Broderick & Associates — two in each of the classrooms, the hallway and underground warehouse to test for any hazardous airborne chemicals. The samples were then sent to York Analytical Laboratories to be analyzed and compared against five sets of guidelines.

“In the report, there were a couple of VOCs that were detected,” Superintendent Robert Banzer said at the Sept. 6 board of education meeting.

The first chemical, methyl methacrylate, was measured at 1.4 to 5.1 micrograms per cubic meter of air in four classrooms, both hallway samples and the warehouse. These levels exceed New York State Department of Health’s 95th percentile concentration of 1.1 micrograms per cubic meter based on the average found in roughly 100 Albany residential homes . The environmental experts used safety data sheets, which list any potentially chemicals found in various products used, to determine it was coming off floor wax applied to the new flooring surfaces in the K-wing.

“The sampling performed did not identify any hazardous concentrations of VOC parameters in any of the sampled locations when compared with the above referenced health-based values.”

— J.C. Broderick & Associates report

The second chemical, Styrene, was measured at 20 to 27 micrograms per cubic meter of air in the warehouse only, above the 2.3 micrograms per cubic meter of air set as the 95th percentile by the state Department of Health. The data sheets showed it was notably found in the shrink-wrap used to wrap pallet products stored in area.

Once these two chemicals were found to be above the 95th percentage, J.C. Broderick & Associates report compared its findings to four health-based guidelines, the most stringent being the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Reference Dose Concentration. The EPA’s guidelines provide an estimate of the maximum level of a VOC that can be continuously inhaled for a lifetime before adverse effects are seen and contains built in safety factors to protect sensitive groups, such as young children or the elderly.

“The sampling performed did not identify any hazardous concentrations of VOC parameters in any of the sampled locations when compared with the above referenced health-based values,” reads J.C. Broderick & Associates’ Aug. 31 report.

The methyl methacrylate found at 1.4 to 5.1 micrograms is well below the 700 micrograms per cubic meter guideline set by the EPA, as was styrene’s 27 micrograms under the 1,000-microgram limit.

Any concerned parent or staff member can find the full results of the air sampling reports and related correspondence on the district’s website at northport.k12.ny.us/district/bg_northport_ms_information.

District’s environmental consultants took 26 samples earlier this week; results to be reviewed by New York State Department of Health

Northport-East Northport school officials and parents are awaiting the results of the latest
Middle School K-wing air quality samples prior to the school’s reopening next week.

The district’s environmental consultant firm J.C. Broderick & Associates Inc. took 26 air samples throughout the K-Wing of Northport Middle School earlier this week to see if issues with gasoline fumes have been fully resolved after extensive summer renovations.

“The question I have been asked is are we going to test before we reopen the K-Wing,” Superintendent Robert Banzer said. “The answer is yes.”

The question I have been asked is are we going to test before we reopen the K-Wing. The answer is yes.”

— Robert Banzer

Edward McGuire, of J.C. Broderick & Associates, said the testing consisted of placing two air sampling cannisters in every single classroom and office space, two in the hallway, and two in the warehouse space beneath the wing, which was the previous site of chemical storage, to see what level of volatile organic compounds, known as VOCs or fumes, are present. In addition, two cannisters were placed outside the building to represent the ambient air that is brought into the school building via the ventilation systems.

“It is the créme de la créme of VOC sampling,” the consultants said. “There is no better methodology.”

The cannisters were placed at varying heights 3 to 5 feet off the ground in each location, according to McGuire, meant to replicate the typical breathing zone of a seated or standing person within the space. Each room was independently sealed off before air samples were collected for a continuous eight-hour period while the newly installed rooftop ventilation systems ran, McGuire said, meant to replicate “typical occupancy conditions.”

Brandon Weisberg, project superintendent for district contractors Park East Construction, said the K-Wing classrooms were ripped down to the studs this summer. New plumbing was installed, fire stoppers sealed, and a special heavy-duty vapor barrier applied on the concrete subsurface between the underground warehouse storage and K-Wing to prevent any fumes from penetrating into the air, according to Weisberg. The district also had new rooftop heating, air conditioning and ventilation units installed while also sealing the older ground-level passages with concrete.

The environmental consultants said their staff has worked with the district’s contractors to obtain safety data sheets for each material used in renovating the K-Wing this summer, providing a list of any potentially hazardous chemicals contained in each product. McGuire said this data will be used to help analyze the air samples and potentially used to identify the source of any abnormally high fumes or airborne chemicals found during the sampling.

“The sensitivity of the analysis will always find VOCs in the air,” McGuire said. “Our expectations are also a little higher because we know everything is brand new.”

The sensitivity of the analysis will always find VOCs in the air. Our expectations are also a little higher because we know everything is brand new.”

— Edward McGuire

The consultants were asked to explain during a presentation at an Aug. 23 board of education meeting that any smell in the K-Wing could be similar to the odors detected by new car owners when they sit inside the vehicle.

J.C. Broderick said they will be doing a two-part comparison of the air samples taken. The first part will be a report on the ambient levels of each VOC detected, while the second phase will examine the levels found against healthy safety guidelines established by New York State Department of Health. McGuire said the standards being used will be compared against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s dose concentration guidelines, which consider different levels for sensitive populations, such as young children.

The results of the air quality testing were expected to be received within approximately 72 hours of the end of sample collection, or 48 hours after the cannisters were delivered to the laboratory. The final report will be sent to New York State Department of Health for its review prior to the classrooms being reopened to student and staff use.

The results were not yet available as of noon Aug. 29, according to the superintendent.

Banzer assured residents the district has repurposed the old warehouse space as a dry storage for “paper goods” and other such things.

“There are no chemicals stored down there, all that was eliminated last year,” he said.

Following air quality concerns, Northport school officials said the district plans to reopen the K-wing of Northport Middle School to students for the 2018-19 school year.

Over the summer recess, Northport Superintendent Robert Banzer confirmed the district has undertaken extensive renovations of the K-wing classrooms, including its ventilation systems. The building’s indoor air quality has raised concerns from district residents since the smell of gas fumes was reported in April 2017.

“Prior to the reopening of the school, the district plans to follow [New York State Department of Health’s] recommendation to retest the K-wing to ensure that there are no indoor air quality issues,” Banzer said.

The K-wing’s indoor air quality was last tested in March by the district’s environmental consulting firm, Hauppauge-based J.C. Broderick & Associates, according to the superintendent. The study’s results, which were shared with district residents in a letter dated March 19, stated the consultants had no concerns about mold growth, volatile organic compounds or carbon monoxide in any of the priority areas it reviewed. The consultants did raise medium, or moderate, concerns that some of the district’s ventilation systems were imbalanced in areas and in need of either repair or replacement.

Banzer said the district will continue to utilize the Tools for School program in the K-wing and throughout the district, which shows schools how to carry out a practical plan to resolve indoor air problems such as volatile organic compounds and mold “at little to no cost using straightforward
activities and in-house staff,” according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website.

The district’s issues with indoor air quality in the K-wing first came to light when an earth science teacher reported smelling fumes in the classroom, and an investigation found the source to be a petroleum-based warehouse beneath the K-wing.

An initial July 2017 study by J.C. Broderick & Associates showed no hazardous concentration of chemicals in any of the air samples. However, four chemicals commonly linked to perfumes, natural rubber products, air conditioners and refrigerators, thermoplastics and latex paints were found in high concentrations — above the 95th percentile of allowable levels determined by the state — in the K-wing corridor, rooms 74 and 75. The consultant’s study was reported to the New York State Department of Health.

Facing widespread community concerns, a forum was held in August 2017, where the superintendent said the district officials had decided to close the Northport Middle School wing for the 2017-18 school year. The closure did not affect previously scheduled classes other than changing their locations, as students were readily accommodated by reallocating use of existing classrooms.

File photo

By Sara-Megan Walsh

Widespread concerns over indoor air quality will keep the K-wing of Northport Middle School closed for the upcoming 2017-18 school year, Northport school officials announced.

On Aug. 9, Northport school district held a community forum to address parents concerned over what health risks may be posed to students in the classrooms where an earth science teacher reported smelling gasoline fumes in April. The fumes were said to be coming from a petroleum-based warehouse located beneath the K-wing. The materials have since been removed.

The most recent air-quality tests, performed July 22 by Hauppauge-based J.C. Broderick & Associates Inc., an environmental and construction testing firm, showed no hazardous concentration of chemicals in any of the samples. But four chemicals commonly linked to perfumes, natural rubber products, air conditioners and refrigerators, thermoplastics and latex paints were found in high concentrations — above the 95th percentile — in the K-wing corridor, rooms 74 and 75. These results were reported to the New York State Department of Health, according to J.C. Broderick & Associates’ report.

Northport Superintendent Robert Banzer said the wing’s closure will not affect scheduled classes other than moving their locations, as students can be readily accommodated by reallocating use of existing classrooms.

The district has a plan of action in place to continue air-quality sampling throughout the building.

Students high-five Michael Brannigan as he holds his gold medal. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

By Victoria Espinoza

Paralympian and 1500-meter gold medalist Mikey Brannigan was welcomed back from Rio with deafening cheers and “USA” chants this past week.

The 20-year-old Northport resident returned to Northport Middle School Sept. 23, and hundreds of students lined the front entrance with homemade signs, waved American flags, and stretched out their arms for the opportunity to get a high-five from Brannigan.

Some tried to sum up what the perseverant athlete’s story meant to them.

“He can do so much,” one student said of Brannigan. “He won a gold medal in the Paralympics, what else can you say?”

Another student said she was inspired by Brannigan’s journey to victory.

“He’s autistic and was able to do all this stuff,” she said. “He overcame everything and worked so hard.”

Students high-five Michael Brannigan as he holds his gold medal. Photo by Victoria Espinoza
Students high-five Michael Brannigan as he holds his gold medal. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

Brannigan was diagnosed with autism at a young age, and began running as a member of the Rolling Thunder Special Needs Program, a nonprofit organization that trains athletes with developmental disabilities.

Throughout Brannigan’s middle and high school careers, he made a name for himself as a runner. He was named Sports Illustrated’s February High School Athlete of the Month in 2015, and placed first in the T20 1500 meters at the International Paralympic Committee World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar last year. T20 represents the classification level Brannigan was designated as a Paralympic athlete.

In August, Brannigan ran a 3:57 mile at the Sir Walter Miller meet in North Carolina, which solidified his place in Olympic qualifications in the T20 Paralympic classification.

The gold medal winner spoke to Northport Middle School students in the auditorium, and urged them to never give up on their dreams and study hard.

“Find a passion you love and never give up,” Brannigan said. “You always have to be a student-athlete. Always be a student-athlete. Do good in the classroom, find a subject you love.”

While Brannigan was in middle school, he said he kept setting goals to get better and improve.

Some of Brannigan’s former teachers teared up after seeing him and said how proud they were to see all he has accomplished.

Principal Tim Hoss was among those proud fans, and he told Brannigan repeatedly how delighted the school was for him and how happy he was with the environment the students made for Brannigan.

Mike Brannigan smiles and holds his gold medal. Photo by Victoria Espinoza
Mike Brannigan smiles and holds his gold medal. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

“Northport is an epicenter of patriotism, the waving of the flags and the cheering and the way you brought it home for Mikey makes us very proud,” he said.

Hoss led a Q&A segment, and asked Brannigan questions from students, including how he feels when he’s running so fast.

“I have so much energy,” Brannigan said, and the crowd laughed along with him. “It makes me a better runner.”

Hoss also asked how Brannigan felt as he completed his Olympic run.

“When I crossed the finish line in Rio, I went through the line and thought ‘don’t stop,’” he said. “And I didn’t. I did it. I was happy.”

When Brannigan was asked to give advice to the young students, he preached self-love.

“Work hard, and believe in yourself. …you’ll have good days and bad days, but never give up,” he told the students. “You have the talent inside of your heart and you’re strong enough to fight through. And that’s what I did.”

Students pet re-enactor Frank Bedford's horse on Nov. 9
Students pet re-enactor Frank Bedford's horse on Nov. 9
Students pet re-enactor Frank Bedford’s horse on Nov. 9

By Alex Petroski

The Revolutionary War leapt from the textbooks and onto the fields of Northport Middle School during an afternoon performance on Monday.

The school’s seventh-graders were treated to a day of fresh air and visual demonstrations by Boots and Saddles Productions, a Freeport-based group that specializes in “living history.”

Principal Tim Hoss said about 250 students attended the “in-house field trip.”

“What better way to learn then being immersed in it?” Hoss said.

Dixie Francis works with a spinning wheel in front of students on Nov. 9
Dixie Francis works with a spinning wheel in front of students on Nov. 9

The students were split into groups and spent time at the five different stations set up by re-enactors.

Gen. George Washington, rebels and British soldiers greeted the students with tales of betrayal to the throne and last ditch pleas to join the Redcoats. A female re-enactor taught kids about the role of women during the Revolution.

The students had the opportunity to ask questions of the re-enactors, pass around props and hear deafening blasts from prop guns.

“They’re actually interacting with us and they’re showing us, not just reading out of a textbook, so we get to hear from them how it was,” Griffin Crafa said. “Now I can actually see it. I heard it, so it’s in my mind, whereas in the textbook you have to just copy notes down and … it doesn’t really stay in your mind.”

Meghan Sheridan said she had fun and Cami Tyrer, referencing the loud musket shots that echoed across the Northport Middle School playing fields, said, “It was a blast, and we learned so much.”

Social studies teacher Barbara Falcone, who organized the event for the second consecutive year, was happy with how the day turned out.

“This is what real learning should be like,” Falcone said. “They’re getting out from behind those dusty computer screens. They’re being outside and they’re seeing from all of these people what real life was like during that period.”

Falcone said the students will remember this event for many years.

Re-enactor Joe Bilardello expressed a similar sentiment: “Out here it’s like we jumped from the history books.”