Cumberland: Greely Junior High School

An 8th Grade Project

Luther Lawrence, ca. 1861

When students at Greely Jr. High School study the Civil War in the Spring, they do so through the eyes of James and Luther Lawrence, brothers from North Yarmouth who fought in the War.

Eighth grade social studies teacher Steve Hill wanted to find a way to make Maine Studies more immediate and relevant for his students. With the help of Maine Historical Society staff, Hill held meetings with Greely faculty members and representatives from the Cumberland, North Yarmouth, and Chebeague Historical Societies, the towns that send students to the school.

At those meetings, teachers learned more about the collections of the historical societies, and historical society members learned more about Greely's curriculum and teachers' needs and interests. Participants brainstormed about potential topics-historic school buildings, island life, the Civil War-and everyone went home to think and do some research.

When the group reconvened, the North Yarmouth Historical Society offered a gold mine: a series of letters, photographs, and regimental records of two brothers from North Yarmouth who corresponded with each other and their father in Maine throughout the war. The North Yarmouth Historical Society worked with Maine Historical Society staff to get that material digitized, cataloged, and online.

Hill then pulled the material together in an online album that his students now use as a central part of their Maine Studies unit on the Civil War.