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Miscoe Students Meet Journalist and Author Cokie Roberts

Emmy award winning journalist and best-selling author Cokie Roberts signs autographs for Miscoe Hill students at the Massachusetts Historical Society on January 29. Fifty-one students were selected based on their submissions for a history field trip contest for 5th and 6th grade students.

Emmy award winning journalist and best-selling author, Cokie Roberts became a history teacher for the afternoon to 51 fifth and sixth grade students from the Miscoe Hill School.

The students took part in a history field trip contest for the two grade levels with the winners selected to travel to the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) in Boston on January 29 to meet Roberts and hear her talk about her new children's book Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies, a book which highlights the female patriots of the American Revolution. In order to enter the contest, students were asked to submit three "intriguing" questions that they might ask Roberts if they had the chance. Fifty-one students were chosen based on their submissions.

During the field trip, the Miscoe students joined students from the Clark Middle School, Lexington at the MHS, the location where Roberts did a great deal of her research. Some of the research came from reading letters from that time period, which Roberts said gave her insight into the women whom she wrote about. "What delighted me [when reading their letters] was that these women never expected anyone to read their letters except to those whom it was written for. You get a much better picture of society as a whole when you read them," she said.

Reading excerpts from her book, Roberts gave quick histories on some of the influential women she wrote about including Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, Phillis Wheatley, Mercy Otis Warren, and Catharine Littlefield Greene. "These women were funny and feisty and flirty and really made all of the difference in the Revolutionary War period," said Roberts.

Roberts fielded questions from the students for over 45 minutes, answering the queries that had won the students the opportunity to meet the famous author. Questions included "who would you choose to interview from the American Revolution if you could," to which she said she would have a hard time narrowing it down to just one, but if pressed she would choose to interview Sarah Livingston Jay. "She wrote the most entertaining, funny, delightful letters," said Roberts. Students also asked her why a women's role in the American Revolution was so interesting to her. "These were very important times in our history, and it is factually incorrect to think that this was all done by men," she said.

After the question and answer session, students had the chance to get Roberts autograph or to tour the room full of historical artifacts including a display of original letters written by First Lady Abigail Adams to her husband John.

Miscoe Hill was invited to the event sponsored by the MHS, through 6th grade History teacher Betsy Lambert. Lambert has done numerous fellowships with the MHS since 2007, researching and writing curriculum, and assisting other teachers in the writing of curriculum. Lambert said that when the MHS contacted her about the opportunity for Miscoe students to meet Robert, she jumped on the chance. "It was such as great event," she said.

Not only was Lambert impressed with Roberts, but with the Miscoe students as well. "I was so proud of our students and how they conducted themselves. They were polite, engaged, focused, and asked very thoughtful questions," she said. Lambert said that she hopes that the school will have the opportunity to attend more events at the MHS in the future.


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