Category Archives: Uncategorized

Farmington CT’s Complex History of Colonial History.

Mikey Ford

Stanley-Whitman House

            During colonial times, Connecticut had many enslaved people. In fact, the history of slavery in Connecticut is very long. As author Douglas Harper points out in his research on Northern slavery, there were enslaved people mentioned living in Connecticut well before 1700. In a collective research project being conducted by the Stanley-Whitman House, it is recorded that, from 1749 to 1774, the Connecticut Colony had the most in New England. Moreover, slavery in Connecticut included the town of Farmington. Interestingly, this nineteenth century abolitionist enclave actually has a long history of colonial slavery in the town. The Stanley-Whitman House found that between the years 1750 and 1774, 38 people living in Farmington were enslaved. While the Stanley-Whitman House does not specifically mention the Underground Railroad, they also found that many people from Farmington were abolitionists. In 1784, shortly after the Revolutionary War, Connecticut passed a law that would allow for gradual emancipation. Additionally, Atlas Obscura describes how several of the Africans in the Amistad Case ended up in Farmington. As explained by, these Africans were originally from Sierra Leone but were captured and brought to Cuba, where they were sold to Spaniards. One of the Africans managed to take over the ship and demanded that they head back to Africa. However, the ship was seized back and actually brought to America. Atlas Obscura explains that, after being held for over two years in a jailhouse in Connecticut, abolitionists managed to get them freed. They were brought to Farmington until funds were raised to prosecute their legal case and for them to get home.

Depiction of Amistad from newspaper





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Composting Survey

We are creating a survey in order to understand how effective our compost education campaign will be. Our PBL class is creating stickers, napkins, and posters about how to compost and how it helps Suffield and the world. The goal of this project is to educate the Suffield community and inspire people to care more about the environment. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the project, we need to create a survey and have students take it before and after our education campaign. To create a successful survey, students are selected and surveyed randomly. After our campaign, another randomly selected group of students will be surveyed. With a large enough sample size, we will be able to tell if we completed our goal of educating the Suffield academy community.

Below are the questions used in the survey.

How important do you think composting is to the environment? 

Not important    Slightly important    Moderately important    Very important    Extremely Important

Are you willing to compost regularly?

Definitely    Probably not    Possibly    Probably    Definitely

How much do you like the idea of having a green bucket on a dining table?

Strongly disagree    Disagree    Neutral    Agree    Strongly Agree

How much do you think you know about what happens to the food after it is put in the bucket?

Definitely    Probably not    Possibly    Probably    Definitely

How often do you compost outside of the dining hall?

Never   Rarely    Sometimes    Often    Always

Can you compost this? (Choose the correct answer)

Banana peels               YES    NO

Milk Cartons               YES    NO

Plastic Wraps              YES    NO

Cupcake Wrappers     YES    NO

Paper Napkins             YES    NO

Oil                                 YES    NO

Understanding Freedom in the Revolutionary War

Deborah squash was the slave of the former U.S. president George Washington. Deborah and her husband worked very hard while being enslaved by Washington and eventually escaped and ran away. She got onto a British ship and this caused a stir back at the plantation. Washington’s cousin, Lund, was furious at the fact they escaped and decided to pursue the slaves. He offered supplies in exchange for the return of the slaves and the British took the supplies and refused to give up the slaves. This is because they were the United states’ enemies at the time so why would they help the US. Word spread quickly about Washington’s cousin helping the enemy and Washington was furious and said his cousins’ actions were “exceedingly ill-judged.” Deborah then made her way to New York where she hoped to get her freedom from the British.


Pine Grove Schoolhouse, a Fine Suburban Gem

The Pine Grove Schoolhouse from the outside.

The Pine Grove Schoolhouse is a historical sight and former school in Avon, Connecticut. It was first opened in 1865. It was built at a price of $1,538.34. The school was highly praised. As a matter of fact, Henry Barnard, a 19th century education reformer from Connecticut, thought of it as the best school in Connecticut. The school was later named Pine Grove School by the students, who came from several towns adjacent to Avon. It was a school until 1949.

After its closing, the schoolhouse was operated as a branch library, a nursery school, and a meeting school for Explorer Scouts. Additionally, it was used for choir rehearsal for a local church. It underwent several restorations, the first one being in 1975. It was set up as an early 20th century schoolhouse, with visiting hours. The outhouse was restored in 2012, and an informational kiosk was added in 2014. This was for an Eagle Scout project. It still stands today as a symbol of the rich history of Avon and its surrounding towns. It remains a historical representation of schoolhouses in the early 20th century. This provides Avon with place-based learning (PBE), where citizens can learn by really being there and not just learning from technology. This provides a deeper learning experience. Ever since it was built in 1865, the Pine Grove Schoolhouse has remained untouched, as to protect its precious history.

Disclaimer: Please feel free to correct me on any mistakes.

Winter in the City that Never Sleeps

I love being in NYC during Christmas time. The cold air making my toes and hands freeze, and the smoke coming out of my breath, as the temperature drops to below freezing. As much as I love to live NYC, my favorite part about the holidays is Rockefeller Center. Rockefeller Center  is a place for my family and other families to go and see the lights and the decorations around and the beautiful light show shimmering at me as the sound of the delightful music enters my ears . Visiting the tree allows my family to bond over the overwhelming view of lights we see shining high above us, and despite all the people, we are actually allowed to get some awesome pictures and enjoy ourselves. It also allows us to take a breath from everything that has been going on around and take in the beauty of the city that never sleeps.

Every time I look up at the bright lights and seeing them it makes me happy and gives me hope in the world. It also shows how families and people can come together over such a small thing like a christmas tree and have the best time with their friends and families. My family and I respect our tradition and  make a memories and start a tradition of this amazing experience given to us in our very own city. Our tradition is that every year on December 22nd we go and see the tree and take pictures.

The uniqueness and diversity of the tree every year is different and has a different story; it gets cut down and decorated and takes a long time to set up. The tree reminds me a lot of people. Since there is a uniqueness and a different story behind everyone background and everyone has a story. The first tree to ever be created was in 1931 during the depression area. It was about 20 feet and was decorated with strings of cranberries, garlands of paper, and even tin cans. This occured on Christmas Eve. Then they have a set schedule of when the tree is arriving to when it is going to be lit. Every year the christmas tree lighting event has gotten bigger and bigger, and people from all over the world have come to see it and enjoy the bright lights glaring back at them.

The Rockefeller Center tree should not be removed from New York City because it brings money into the state because of the amount of people that it attracts into the city. It also brings together families and couples to enjoy the gorgeous lights of the tree and experience it first hand. Everyone enjoys this time in the city because of this tree. This tree brings people together and takes out hate in the world even if its for certain hours during the holidays. Personally, I like that i can go there with my family every year and seeing the tree. It allows my  family to have a family tradition and to have great christmas card photos, and more memories.

Wallkill Soldier monument

   One significant historical monument where I live is called the Wallkill Soldier’s Monument. The statue is enormous and stands on a 15-foot base and is 7 feet in itself. It portrays a soldier wearing a cap, knee-length overcoat with a cape. He stands upright, holding his rifle vertically with his left hand over his right. It was made in September of 1879 by O.E. Owen. The town dedicated this statue in 1879 to give the soldiers of the civil war that lived in the town of Wallkill a monument. They hold a memorial every year where many military members and family of military members come out to honor all of our fallen heroes. It then got moved to Middletown in 1894. There are not many monuments in Middletown that help honor our fallen troops.

    When hearing that the town of Middletown wants to take down the Wallkill soldier, I was shocked. The statue is to commemorate and honor the fallen soldiers from Wallkill that fought for us during the civil war.

This statue represents the respect we have for our fallen troops that gave their lives to help fight for what they felt was right. Putting this statue up in remembrance of them was a very honorable action. We still use this statue to host many events to honor the troops annually, and the town will be very disappointed if it removed.

Airbnb – Nobody believed in the founder idea, resulting into powerful perseverance

I believe that Joe Gebbia’s personal story contains unique innovative thinking because nobody believed in his idea at first. More specifically, people back then thought to sleep in a stranger’s bedroom, thus using their kitchen and bathroom was an unbelievable idea. However, thanks to his perseverance, his innovative idea led to one of the well-known traveling experiences in the world today. Throughout the story, the founder used different innovative thinking skills to achieve his goals. For instance, he talked about saving the white blank book that was being thrown away at the library and using it as an idea book. By the end of his year in college, he used innovative thinking and established 2000 books full of creative ideas. These books were gathered in the garage, where all of his innovative ideas were stored. As of result, one of his innovative ideas that has been created from the book led to the greatest success in his company. Despite everything, I enjoyed listening to his story and how the founder’s innovative thinking led to his achievement. #HowIBuiltThis #PennPBL #JoeGebbia #Airbnb

  1. The founder has worked on many ideas and he says that majority of them were bad or undeveloped. What did he learn through this process? What did he keep doing instead of giving up?
  2. The founder mentions about the white blank book near the trash can in the library. What did he ask the librarian and what did he do with the blank books? What kind of thinking is he using there?
  3. Throughout the process, the founder has faced some several failures. After regrouping and trying for the fourth time, the company successfully increased. What did the founder do that led to the click moment where the the numbers flopped and began congregating the customers?
  4. What does the founder do when he is in an uncomfortable situation? In the podcast, he talks about how uncomfortableness brings out an engagement. What examples did he provide and why do you think this was so important to him?
  5. The founder checks his email one last time before going to bed and sees “Help” in bold with twelve explanation mark from the couples vising San Francisco. What does he specifically do immediately after reading the email? What thinking led to his action and how did this help the couple?

Spanx, The Best Podcast For PBL

I believe “Spanx” is one of the best Podcast that demonstrates innovative thinking because it is a true success story of a completely normal person coming up with an amazing idea and becoming someone we still talk about today. Sara, the woman who came up with the idea first did not tell anyone of her idea because she was scared someone was going to take her idea. She got this idea from the original idea of pantyhose. Yesterday in class, Jason talked about how trial and error is so important and Sara used trial and error in order to learn from her mistakes and used innovative thinking to create the best possible result. Jason also talked about how collaboration, with other people to see multiple perspectives, is extremely important when starting something new and Sara went to a cocktail party and got some crucial information that would help her to come. She was told that business means war and it encouraged her to approach her business in a much different way instead of sitting back and waiting for something to happen, which changed the path of her creation for the better. 


  • How was trial and error important in this specific case?
  • Do you think it was helpful that Sara kept a log of all of her ideas throughout her life?
  • What does Sara do instead of asking people for their approval?
  • How did Sarah originally come up with the idea of Spanx, what started this whole process?
  • Sara experienced an act of kindness that she explained over her podcast why does this completely change your point of view?

World Hunger and Immigration

The issue that I chose is world hunger, and more specifically why it is topic to comprehend and solve. One reason that world hunger is so hard to solve is because of immigration. When food becomes scarce in a country, most of the time rather than solving the issue, people, especially the men age 20-40 which make up most of the working class, end up immigrating to nearby countries, often Europe, and wire money back to their families back in the hunger-stricken countries. This has happened all over the world, especially in northern Africa. For example, Libya and Algeria, since the food shortages there has been mass migration to Europe, which not only causes big economic problems for Europe, but also for their native countries. The reason for this is because the main industries of these third world countries is often agriculture, as the richer countries usually export more technology, and to cultivate agriculture you need a big work force of healthy individuals. Therefore, when they leave their native countries because they want to provide more for their families, they are in fact just ruining their own countries more, as there are not enough people to fill the jobs, which means less agriculture is cultivated, which in turn means less vegetables, fruit, etc. is exported which gives less money to their governments. Overall if we want to solve world hunger I think we need to provide them education, jobs, and skills to these people; then they can have the choice to help their own countries rather than leaving, and trying to find a better resources elsewhere. Could such a step help relieve the cycle of hunger and poverty?

The Colonial Tavern

During colonial times the tavern was a very important part of society. Everything happened there, travelers stayed the night, people had drinks, there were songs, meetings and food. The tavern was the meeting house for societies that didn’t yet have an official place to meet. The tavern was also a way of people exchanging information as well. News during this time was usually shared and passed on through taverns. George Washington visited a tavern here in Suffield and probably visited anymore on his journeys through America. Also a lot of people drank alcohol during that day because there were no known issues with it and also it kept people warm in the winter. Taverns like the Austin Tavern here in Suffield was very important to the people of the town. News from different colonies spread in taverns. Gossip happened over food all the time. For example, the Green Dragon Tavern in Boston in which the Boston Tea Party was planned and plotted over a couple of drinks. Also one tavern is said to be the birthplace of the American marine corps.


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The Austin Tavern in Suffield