Weston Warhorse

The Trench Halloween Extravaganza

Ashley Aron, Editor-in-Chief

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Ms. Christina Conetta, along with the help of National Honor Society volunteers, built a World War I trench in the library classroom and designed a simulation for her period one and three classes on Halloween.
The trench was set up by turning tables on their sides, covering the trench in brown paper and all sorts of nets and paper-ivy. The trench was filled with flickering tea lights, decorated with cobwebs, creepy rats, horrifying bugs, informational signs, and interesting items built and arranged to look like World War I artifacts. No Man’s Land was also made of brown paper and paper ivy, stacked with brown boxes made to look like bricks, and cardboard fence crosses set the boundaries. Another desk facing No Man’s Land represented the enemy trench and housed the student volunteers who attacked Ms. Conetta’s students with ammo (paper balls). Strobe lights and World War I trench sound effects helped to create the war-like atmosphere in the room.
The goal was for students to enter the trench on all fours and try to avoid being hit by the gas (water from a spray bottle) and grenades (styrofoam balls) or the ammo coming from the opposite trench once they climbed out of the trench and into No Man’s Land. Students received a card advising them to put on a gas mask when sprayed by gas in the trench, a card stating that they could put on a helmet to defend them from grenades and ammo coming from the enemy trench, a card stating they could pick up a rifle (styrofoam), a card stating they could put on a helmet, pick up a gun, and a gas mask, or a card stating that they were out of luck and were defenseless in No Man’s Land. Like real war, if a student was hit, they “lost” the game because they could not make it out of the trench and across No Man’s Land alive.
After the activity was over and everyone had passed through the trench, Ms. Conetta held a “strong, authentic” socratic discussion about the realities of the World War I trenches. She says they discussed “what was in there with you and how you had nowhere to go, and if you did leave you probably weren’t going to make it.”
Lucas Casellas ‘20, from Ms. Conetta’s period one class, says that he thought it was a “great change of pace from what we were doing. We would learn about it in class and then we would experience it, and then afterward we got to talk about how it related to the war. I thought that was very interesting.”
Grady Tarzian ‘20, from Ms. Conetta’s period three class, says that he thought the simulation was “an accurate representation of what actually happened in World War I.”
Grace Milliman ‘20, from Ms. Conetta’s period one class, says that she “liked that we all had different levels of protection” which she says “made the whole thing more high-stakes and fun!”
Casellas says his favorite part of the simulation was “No Man’s Land.”
Tarzian says he really liked “the amount of paper that were being thrown everywhere.”
Milliman says her favorite part of the experience was “seeing Mrs. Deorio and Mrs. Cincotta go through the trenches because it kept us involved in the experience once we had either crossed No Man’s Land or died.”
Ms. Conetta also says that her favorite part was seeing Mrs. Deorio go through the trench and take it “in her own hands.”
Milliman says “that there isn’t really anything I would change this time, but I think that in future years, the whole experience could be built up more.” She says that maybe the “fighting and defense tactics could be more complicated! I think that there is a lot the social studies department could do with this idea, and I hope that it continues in the future!

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Ashley Aron, Editor-in-Chief

Ashley Aron is a Senior. She currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Warhorse.

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The Trench Halloween Extravaganza