Wallingford students portray historical figures during cemetery tour

Wallingford students portray historical figures during cemetery tour


Ryan Devaney, a senior at Lyman Hall High School, gets into character and practices his lines Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013. Devaney is portraying William Holt in the Center Street Cemetery Night Tour on Oct. 4. | (Eric Vo / Record-Journal)

WALLINGFORD — High school students will portray historical figures from the town’s past during a tour of the historic Center Street cemetery on Oct. 4.

The tour has been held periodically in the past, with town officials and other notables playing the parts of those buried in the cemetery, including Rev. Samuel Street, Rev. Samuel Whittelsey and Katherine Miles. This year, students from the drama clubs at Sheehan and Lyman Hall high schools will play the roles as part of an effort to incorporate local history into education. It starts at 6 p.m. The event helps kick off Celebrate Wallingford, which will take place Oct. 5 and 6.

“It’s one of those things that came to me,” said cemetery groundskeeper Bob Devaney Jr., “It’s a great way to get the drama club involved in learning a little history of their town.”

Devaney approached Assistant Superintendent for Personnel Colin McNamara with the idea.

“It’s a win for the students; a fantastic win for the community to get to see these kids and a win for Bob to have really good players in his production.” McNamara said.

Devaney said he met with the students and drama teachers. He told them to focus on accurately portraying the early settlers. Rather than standing and reading from a script, Devaney encouraged them “to play the part.”

Kellie Kennedy, who is in charge of the drama program at Lyman Hall, said she is working with the students on developing “the look of the characters and creating what they would look like and how they move and speak.” Sheehan drama teacher Linda Ventura-Clemons said her students are looking forward to it.

“Hopefully it’s a new tradition for years to come,” Ventura-Clemons said. “It’s a wonderful way to include students in living the history and learning of the community and doing something they enjoy doing.”

With cemetery tours becoming more popular it’s fitting to have the students involved, Devaney said.

“The cemetery is turning into a more educational thing,” he said.

evo@record-journal.com (203) 317-2235 Twitter: @EricVoRJ

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