By Bradley Bigelow ’21
After graduating from The Winchendon School, Bradley matriculated to American University in Washington, DC. This is his second summer working as an intern for The Winchendon School.
“We moved back to Mass after living out in the midwest,” said Tiffany Pellegrini, teacher, and leader of the spirit of America ColLAB. “It’s so odd to go out there and see that the oldest building is only from, like, the 1840s. Massachusetts has so much more history behind it.” I sat in the passenger seat of the 12-person Nissan van, commiserating with Tiffany about in-bound Boston traffic on the infamous Route 2. We were going into the city of Boston that Memorial Day to visit two important historic sites.
Tiffany Pellegrini is a Humanities teacher at The Winchendon School, and a history buff. As a new teacher at the Winchendon School, The Spirit of America is her first ColLAB. On the van ride to Boston alone, you could feel the passion she has for teaching history to her students.
My whole life, I had been a history junkie. I loved exploring old forts, enjoying museums, and soaking in as much of the past as possible. I even won a regional history day competition for having the best project in middle school and advanced to the next round (where I got knocked out by projects that blew my 8th-grade mind). When asked to cover this ColLAB I was absolutely elated- and for good reason. This ColLAB has been living my dream for the past week. They had been to monuments, museums, and everything in between, taking a deep dive into the history of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
When we offloaded the van at our first site: the USS Constitution, the kids were excited, and so was I. It was the first time I had seen the ship since I was about 7 years old. As we boarded, we saw the robust construction of the vessel that had allowed it to gain the nickname “Old Ironsides”- in a naval battle during the war of 1812, the Constitution took multiple volleys of British cannon fire to its sides, which simply bounced off the ship, leaving it largely unharmed. I saw the students light up as they made their way down the ladders and into the lower decks of the ship. we had satisfied ourselves with viewing the ship’s interior, and we returned topside and gathered on the docks below to talk about the significance of the Constitution’s history. After a quick group photo, we were on to the next location.
We got off and readied for a tour of our second location that day, which was Fenway Park. I didn’t know much about the park beyond it being the oldest one in America. Our tour guides elaborated on quite possibly every historical detail of the park, down to the details in the manually operated scoreboard. We toured the whole park- from sitting on the green monster to exploring the garden (which I had never thought I would have seen in a professional ballpark). Exploring Fenway was one of the most interesting activities I had ever done in the city of Boston.
After a pit stop at Wahlburgers, and a short excursion to Newbury street, we piled back into the van and headed home. I was almost history’ed out from the day. Seeing all of the historic sites reminded me of the deep history of Massachusetts and the spirit of its early settlers and minutemen. At the end of our journey, I realized why Massachusetts is called the Spirit of America. The revolutionary spirit can still be felt in the street of Boston and the wilderness westward today.