Closing a Window on the Past

The Bay Colony Educators Retire After 30 Years of Colonial Presentations

The Bay Colony Educators, Tim Greene and Carol Neville, have been giving colonial presentations to Abington's fifth graders for thirty years. The pair recently announced their retirement.

Carol Neville, with permission

The Bay Colony Educators, Tim Greene and Carol Neville, have been giving colonial presentations to Abington’s fifth graders for thirty years. The pair recently announced their retirement.

Emily Coulsey, School News Insider

A school tradition since 1990, the Bay Colony Educators Tim Greene and Carol Neville have been giving colonial presentations to the fifth graders of Abington for 30 years. Due to the current COVID-19 situation, the pair has made the decision to conclude their presentations. With health concerns and the fear that their presentations would not resonate as well virtually, retiring seemed like the best decision. 

A dedicated pair, Tim and Carol have been teaching for over 50 years; Tim is now 74 and Carol is 71. Within the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Bay Colony Educators visited schools such as Norwell and Abington, giving colonial presentations about a child’s life in America hundreds of years ago. Their presentations discussed topics ranging from clothing and hygiene, to work, education, and even recreational activities. 

The pair learned all of their information from books about America’s early history, and emphasized the importance of reading during their presentations to the students. Every single example, detail, and story that they brought to life were each derived from a book that they read. 

I will really miss how they brought history alive for everyone. If you liked history before the Bay Colony Educators, then you loved it after.”

— Mrs. Samsel

When asked what she will miss most about these presentations, fifth grade ELA and History teacher Mrs. Kalen Samsel said, “I will really miss how they brought history alive for everyone. If you liked history before the Bay Colony Educators, then you LOVED it after. If you thought it was boring, they truly brought it to life. They had a wonderful way of teaching through stories. They made you truly feel like you were experiencing whatever it was they were talking about.”

Asking for audience volunteers was one way that the Bay Colony Educators brought their shows to life. They would use students in some sections to depict how truly difficult and different life was in colonial times.

Samsel reminisced on how “students always loved the wooden Bilbo Catcher and Tim was always amazing at doing it. Kids would love to try them during indoor recess.” Samsel will miss their energy and “skill at making the old seem exciting and interesting,” she said.

According to Samsel, “as teachers, [we] were nervous this past decade or so having the Bay Colony Educators come and present because we weren’t sure how kids who are glued to devices, technology, and being overstimulated were going to respond to a couple on a stage with artifacts and stories that they had gathered from reading books.” 

The presentation was a great chance to get out of the classroom and learn something by actually seeing it in person. ”

— Aleena Magnasco

Nevertheless, “Every single year we were blown away at the rapt attention and interest our students displayed. They always loved the presentations and wanted to learn more,” said Samsel. 

The Bay Colony Educators visited Abington in the early fall each year, leaving students to recall facts during their history lessons throughout the school year that they had already learned, thanks to those colonial presentations.

Abington High School senior Erin Doherty, who watched the presentation in fifth grade, still remembers some portions vividly. Doherty said the most interesting thing she remembered was “when they taught us about the hygiene people had back then, specifically how people took baths using the same water as their family members and how dentists pulled teeth whilst patients were wide awake.” She remembered “being extremely intrigued yet alarmed at the same time!”

Similarly, senior Aleena Magnasco recalled the way the Bay Colony Educators were able to bring history to life. “The presentation was a great chance to get out of the classroom and learn something by actually seeing it in person,” said Magnasco.

During each presentation in Abington, the Bay Colony Educators would encourage students to “thank their parents, and the PTO, and the administration for allowing them to come every single year,” Samsel said.

To show their appreciation for the continued support from Abington parents, students, staff, the AEF, and the PTO over the past 30 years, the Bay Colony Educators Tim Greene and Carol Neville wrote a letter that can be found here

Print Friendly, PDF & Email