It is my pleasure to write this letter of recommendation on behalf of Thomas Kuehhas, the former Executive Director of the Oyster Bay Historical Society in Oyster Bay, New York. Tom developed and presented an informative and effective hands-on program dealing with the Revolutionary War.
I recently retired as an elementary school teacher in Merrick, New York. My career spanned over 26 years and the last six were in fourth grade. Colonial America and the Revolutionary War were major topics covered in the fourth grade curriculum. Each year I arranged all class trips for the entire fourth grade to the Oyster Bay Historical Society. These trips were used to reinforce what was learned in the classroom.
Tom’s passion for this subject matter is evident. He possesses realistic reproductions of 18th century artifacts that he openly shares with all the children. Tom explains each artifact’s use and/or material make-up. Tom’s enthusiasm is transferred from him directly to the students as he passes the reproductions around the room for all to touch, hold and examine. The grand finale of the trip is when Tom dresses up a student(s) in the uniform and equipment of a Continental soldier. The uniform and equipment weigh almost as much as the students. The kids “love it”. This last part of the program never fails to make an impression on all the fourth grade students. Tom’s program made their classroom lessons come to life.
Although we went to the Oyster Bay Historical Society in June, I always made sure to book the trip date early in the school year to avoid being closed out of Tom’s program. One year Tom was unable to present the program and even though the props and lesson plan were essentially identical, the other presenter lacked the passion and depth of knowledge that Tom brought to the program. I was unhappy and felt that the students that particular year missed out on a great experience. I insisted that the next year Tom would have to do the program or we would not visit the museum.
As a classroom teacher with over a quarter century of experience, I can unequivocally say that Tom’s program on the Revolutionary War is one of the most interesting, informative and hands-on educational experiences children can have.
I highly recommend Tom and his hands-on Revolutionary War program.