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Last week at Lynch House, Grade 8 participated in the Imperial Tea Party. Students dressed as 19th century world leaders and joined President McKinley, portrayed by Head of School Tom Main, to discuss topics such as the Spanish American War, the Panama Canal, yellow journalism, social Darwinism, Pacific naval bases and the purchase of Alaska. The event is part of history teacher Amy Dolan's lesson on Imperialism.

Leading up to this debate, students became fully engaged and curious about the topic of Imperialism. They each selected a historical person to research and portray at the debate. Some chosen were Grover Cleveland, Commodore Matthew Perry, Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii, William Randolph Hearst, John Hay, and Emilio Aguinaldo to name a few. Students worked individually and in groups to prepare. They wrote speeches of introduction that gave their position on Imperialism and listed their goals for the debate.

Students arrived at the Imperial Tea Party dressed and ready to express their opinions. They were graded on their writing which had to be clear, concise, convincing and true to factual information, the persuasiveness of their speech, and their responses to questions. "While they learned how to speak in public in the Lower School, debates and trials have always been an important part of the history program in Middle and Upper School. This project is a combination of critical thinking and public speaking," says Mrs. Dolan. "It’s all about active cooperative and collaborative learning." And it also happens to be a whole lot of fun! View all pictures of Grade 8's Imperial Tea Party in the RA SmugMug gallery here!