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Three first graders at New Boston Central School pick their favorite daffodil bulbs to plant around the school grounds. (NANCY BEAN FOSTER PHOTO)

New Boston bulb tradition gets a town anniversary twist from 1st graders

NEW BOSTON - First-graders at New Boston Central School bundled up in their coats and hats on Monday and headed outside to plant daffodil bulbs in honor of the town's upcoming 250th birthday.

Every year, the first-grade class at the Central School plants bulbs in the fall as part of the science curriculum. In journals they keep all year, the students will draw pictures of the stages of the daffodil, examine the cross-section of bulbs, plant them around the school, and wait for them to emerge in the spring, chronicling the life of the flowers that decorate their environment.

But this year, teacher Judy Keefe and her assistant in the project, LeeAnn Allen, a professional gardener and an assistant librarian with the school, decided to add a bit of history to the annual planting.

In 2014, New Boston will celebrate its 250th anniversary, so Keefe decided to plant a series of daffodil bulbs named in honor of Gen. John Stark, his wife, Molly, and his son, Caleb.

New Boston is home to the Molly Stark Cannon, a British gun captured by American soldiers under the leadership of Gen. Stark during the Battle of Bennington in 1777. "Old Molly" was given to the New Boston Artillery Company by Stark in commemoration of their successful fighting at Bennington and has remained in town ever since.

Every little kid who goes to school in New Boston learns about the Molly Stark Cannon, General Stark's leadership, and the role their forefathers played in the Revolutionary War, so the daffodils named after that famous family brought a lot of things together, said Keefe.

"It blends art, history, science, and even environmental education all together in one unit," she said. "And the kids love getting out there and getting their hands dirty.

In all, there will be 250 Stark daffodils planted this fall, said Allen.

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