There was a very special presentation held at the Clara Barton Schoolhouse on March 26 as part of Women’s History Month.
The Bordentown Historical Society welcomed 10 girls from Girl Scout Troop 25891 to learn more about the trailblazer that was Clara Barton.
Troop 25891 is a Mansfield Township-based Girl Scout troop with children ages 9-10 and is a part of the Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey.
Troop leader Stephanie Hunsicker is a Bordentown Township native.
Growing up in the Bordentown community, Hunsicker learned a lot about the historic figures that came through the area, one of which being Barton who founded the American Red Cross.
With the girls in her troop starting their Agent of Change Journey, where they are tasked to find ways to make a difference in their community, Hunsicker thought a great place to take her troop for inspiration was the schoolhouse.
The original schoolhouse that Barton helped create as the first public school in the State of New Jersey in 1852 still stands today in downtown Bordentown City and is preserved by the Bordentown Historical Society.
“Clara Barton was one of the most influential people of her time,” Hunsicker said. “She was a woman of perseverance and is a great example to show young women how they can make an impact on their community.”
Bordentown Historical Society Co-President and Clara Barton enthusiast Bonnie Goldman gave Troop 25891 a tour of the schoolhouse, which just recently had its roof renovated.
The Bordentown Historical Society is currently still accepting donations through its Raise The Roof campaign to raise money towards renovating other areas of need in the schoolhouse that include heating, ventilation and air conditioning, electrical work, audio visual equipment, exterior work on the brick, fencing, sidewalks and possibly a bathroom.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Goldman held a presentation on Barton outside of the schoolhouse for Troop 25891.
“It was really fun to accommodate them and talk about Clara Barton,” Goldman said. “She’s an American icon and is the mother of volunteerism.”
The schoolhouse is something that Hunsicker always “marveled” at growing up in Bordentown and is happy that the landmark still stands today for people in the surrounding areas to come see.
She remembers going on field trips to the schoolhouse back when she was a child and said the Bordentown Regional School District does a “wonderful job” embracing the impact Barton had on the community in its curriculum.
Along on the trip was Hunsicker’s former kindergarten teacher Judy Pesce, who also partook in helping explain the impact that Barton had not just on the community but also the entire country during her time.
Hunsicker said Pesce was an amazing kindergarten teacher and is grateful to have her former teacher in her life.
Following the trip to the schoolhouse, Hunsicker took her troop down Farnsworth Avenue to instill more female empowerment by showing her girls all the local businesses that women own and that they too can do that someday.
As she saw her girls read the books they got on Barton “right away” after the field trip, Hunsicker was happy that her troop took a lot out of the experience and that it impacted them to try to make their own impact in their community.
“It was fun to see the impact Clara Barton made on them and that they want to do the same,” Hunsicker said.