Marking History

For the past couple of years, students in the Islip Middle School EXCEL Open Space Stewardship Program have been working on a project titled “EXCEL’s Natural History Project.” EXCEL teacher Julia Johnson tasked the students with compiling enough data to justify the placement of a historical marker on school grounds. During their research, it was revealed that there had been an old paper mill located on the property where Islip Middle School currently stands. The paper mill was built circa 1820 and demolished in 1909 when the property was sold.

On May 15, all of the students’ hard work paid off, as a historical marker was placed in front of the middle school to indicate the site of the old mill. Additionally, the students created a documentary that explains how and why they were able to get the marker placed.

“This project presented students with the unique opportunity to pursue hands-on science, history and documentary filmmaking all within the context of one endeavor,” said Mrs. Johnson. “The placement of the historical marker provided the students with tangible evidence of their hard work; it was the ultimate external reward.”