The flags on the fleet of ships built in Erie for the War of 1812 bore the slogan “Don’t give up the ship.”
Two hundred years later, the Perry 200 Commemoration, sponsored in part by the Jefferson Educational Society, urges the Erie community, “Don’t give up the spirit.”
The city of Erie played an integral part in the War of 1812. Then a city of 500 people, Erie constructed the fleet that led Commodore Oliver H. Perry to victory in the Battle of Lake Erie on September 10, 1813.
Perry’s likeness–and name–are now featured prominently in downtown Erie.
“[People like Perry] are Erieites we are proud of,” said Corrine Egan, a program associated at the Jefferson Educational Society.
The 200th anniversary celebration of the War of 1812 and the Battle of Lake Erie seeks to instill that pride in the greater community, says Egan.
Commemoration events kick off this spring and will last through 2013.
The first phase, which will take place in May, brings the War of 1812 into classrooms across Erie.
The Jefferson Educational Society is currently in the process of drafting curricula and planning events for the students.
That’s where you can come in…
Egan said they are looking for as many volunteers as possible to fulfill a variety of roles in the first phase of the Perry 200 commemoration.
Here are some opportunities:
-Join employees of the Jefferson Educational Society in assembling kits of materials for teachers. Volunteers are needed the week of March 12.
-Help run activities in the schools during May. The Jefferson Educational Society is working with a local artist to offer War of 1812-themed classes in schools across the city. Volunteers would be working off an established curriculum.
-Visit classrooms as history re-enacters. Don the uniform of a War of 1812 soldier and share history in character. This is a fun way to make history more interactive.
-Chaperone class field trips. The participating fifth grade classrooms will be going on a couple throughout May.
“We hope the people of Erie will step forward and show their pride by volunteering or participating,” said Egan.
Volunteers will be needed throughout the commemoration. Follow Volunteer Erie for additional opportunities.
Contact Corrine Egan at (814) 459-8000 or egan@JESerie.org to get involved.
Photo courtesy of the Jefferson Educational Society