Braving brisk autumn temperatures, on Friday, October 20, 120 eighth grade students of Dunmore Middle School made a field trip to the Dunmore Cemetery. The students were greeted at the cemetery gates by members of the Dearly Departed Players who present the annual, award-winning Dunmore Cemetery Tour.
While touring through the cemetery, Julie Esty, Director of the Players and historian enlightened students on the rich history and heritage that lies within the confines of the cemetery gates.
Former Dunmorean, Retired Colonel James W. Patterson explained military markers to the students. Colonel Patterson also touched on the military career of Pfc. Robert Nicholson, a member of Merrill’s Marauders, who is at rest in the cemetery.
Wendy Belaski shared her vast knowledge of stained glass and cemetery symbolism with the students.
During the tour the students were also shown examples of cemetery preservation and restoration that have taken place in the cemetery in recent years. Customs of cemeteries surrounding the Dunmore Cemetery were also explained to the students. Cemetery Superintendent Sam Quinn also spoke briefly with the students.
One stop on the tour was especially important to the history of the Dunmore School District. Former Dunmore Music Supervisor Martha Matthews Owens was spotlighted. Matthews-Owens began her teaching career with the school district in 1897 and was employed with them until her death in 1922. Under her direction, musical education thrived. The curriculum and educational standards Matthews-Owens established ranked among the highest in the country.
The students will continue their study of the cemetery by following up with an English assignment.
Attending the event with the students were teachers Kevin McHale, Sary Worozbyt, Celine Carlier, Kim Bochicchio, Stacie Telnock, Peggy Hart, Mary Lynn Benefonte, Ryan Ehnot, and Kimberly Ahern. The teachers plan to make a field trip to the Dunmore Cemetery an annual event.