Nicole Antonucci/Recorder staff Students from Lynch Literacy Academy visit with Mayor Ann Thane at city hall Monday during a three-hour limousine tour of the city.
Nicole Antonucci/Recorder staff Jacob Reed, Taliyah Telemague and Kelly Kilgallen listen to the history of city hall.
Nicole Antonucci/Recorder staff City historian Robert von Hasseln points to an area of city hall known to be haunted as he tells students from Lynch Literacy Academy the history of the building
By NICOLE ANTONUCCI
A dozen students from the Wilbur H. Lynch Literacy Academy took a break from the books Monday and spent three hours riding around the city via limousine to get a history lesson of a different sort.
The students stopped to pick up Amsterdam city historian Robert von Hasseln before embarking on a tour of historical landmarks throughout the city, including the Sanford Farm on Route 30 and City Hall.
"Not a lot of the children know how much history is here," school psychologist and chaperone Julie Pendt said. "Driving through the city, they may not know the history of many of the buildings."
According to Pendt, to be eligible for this special event, the students had to have exemplary behavior this year and had to earn a Pride Pass to get a seat in the limo. They also had to answer seven questions about the city's history.
The event promoting Positive Behavior in School (PBIS) is sponsored by members of The Broadcaster, the Lynch Literacy Academy student-generated paper.
"The newspaper club wanted to give back to the school and the PBIS program so they gave back their fundraising money," Pendt said. "They held a raffle for Pride Pass holders who had to fill out trivia sheets. Four names were chosen."
At City Hall the students explored several rooms, learned about the Sanford family that used to reside there, and listened to a few ghost stories.
Then it was time for lunch with Mayor Ann Thane -- the students were treated to pizza in the mayor's office. Thane talked to the students about her role as mayor and the different functions of city government.
The students were shy at first but quickly warmed up and several asked Thane for a photo, or "selfie."
At the end of the tour, the students went back to the limo for the ride back to school, excited to tell their friends.
"The ability to be here was really cool," seventh-grader Thomas Lyons-Shang said, adding he would do it again. "I liked the amount of stuff we did. There is so much history, much more than I thought there was."
Seventh-grader Spencer Flint felt special riding in the limousine and "felt like there was a red carpet."
"It was great and unique," he said, adding that he learned a lot of historical facts. "I didn't know that Kirk Douglas was from here. I also liked the haunted house part. It was interesting and knowledgeable."