Schools to sing and dance through city’s 300 years of history

Helping set the future by studying the past, Beaufort County students will celebrate Beaufort’s 300th birthday year Nov. 10 with a special public presentation, “300 Years of History Through Song and Dance.”
The event is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. at The Arts Center at Beaufort High School on Lady’s Island. Admission is $5 and all proceeds benefit the Beaufort 300 Tricentennial memorial monument and the Foundation for Excellence in Education for teacher mini-grants, said project coordinator Jennifer Woods.
“These young people are going to help guide the next 100 years of Beaufort’s future, so we wanted to find fun and educational ways for them to learn about and celebrate the first 300 years,” she said.
The student show is based on the highly successful Founders’ Night Dec. 31 that kicked off Beaufort’s 300th birthday year celebration.
“Students will provide first-person narratives, in the voices of local historical characters, and perform songs and dance that help bring Beaufort’s history to life,” Woods said. “South Carolina standards provide a good backbone for the state’s history, but we took it a few steps farther with this in-depth look at what’s made Beaufort so special for so long.
“The performance demonstrates the infusion of fine arts into history lessons and it provides an opportunity for Beaufort Cluster schools to work together. Beaufort High School Principal Dr. Dan Durbin is the producer of the showcase,” Woods said.
Participating schools include Beaufort Elementary, Coosa Elementary Lady’s Island Elementary, Mossy Oaks Elementary, Port Royal Elementary, Riverview Charter School, St. Helena Elementary, Beaufort Middle, Lady’s Island Intermediate/Middle and Beaufort High.
Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling will open the show to set the stage for what’s already been celebrated in the Tricentennial, what’s to come, and why a city’s 300th birthday is so special.
“It’s critical that these students not only understand but appreciate that the Lowcountry’s past helps steer the future, but ultimately, they’ll be the ones in the driver’s seat,” Keyserling said. “I salute the school district for finding an imaginative way to engage these young men and women.”
Children under age five are admitted free. Tickets can be purchased at participating schools and will be available at the door.
Organizers of the Beaufort 300 Project are in the final stretch to raise funds for a new historical marker. For a $300 investment in Beaufort’s future, donors’ names will be featured on a permanent historical monument in the Waterfront Park. For details, call Erin Dean at 524-1116 or visit www.cityofbeaufort.org.
Beaufort was founded in 1711 by the English, although its beginnings date back to Spanish explorers in 1514. Beaufort was named for Englishman Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort (1684-1714), one of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina. It was on Jan. 17, 1711, that Beaufort’s formal charter was created.

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