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Gingrich Challenges Seabury Students to Become Historians

Posted August 23, 2011, 12:25 PM HST Updated August 23, 2011, 04:42 PM HST
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By Wendy Osher

Newt Gingrich speaking to the Seabury Hall student body. Courtesy photo by Jon Toda.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich discussed the key patterns in American history during a special address to prep students at Seabury Hall on Maui.

During his Monday morning visit, Gingrich related historical perspectives on the founding of America and the Civil War.

“He asked the students if they had ever had an argument with their friends about what to do next,” said Kathleen Buenger, Director of Advancement at Seabury Hall.

He then equated the question to the founding of America, “thus putting the context of American history in kid terms,” said Buenger.  “As a former teacher, Speaker Gingrich related to the kids really well,” said Buenger.

Gingrich went on to explain the impact of the Magna Carta up to the Civil War.  He also challenged students to re-read both the Declaration of Independence and Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address from 1865, said Buenger.

Brendan Wilson, Newt Gingrich, and Katheryn Barraco. Courtesy photo by Jennifer Phelps

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Gingrich called the item, “the most profound document in American History,” according to Buenger, and highlighted the radical concept at the time of proclaiming that all men are created equal.

“It is always a stimulating experience for students to be exposed to people of note regardless of their leanings,” said Seabury Hall Headmaster Joe Schmidt.  “Critical thinking occurs when all sides of an issue are presented. The hallmark of Seabury Hall is to promote critical thinking,” he said.

During a question and answer portion of the visit, students inquired about the fairness of tax breaks for big corporations, immigration rights, and big business versus small business.  They also discussed perspectives on American materialism and the thought process in becoming a presidential candidate.

According to Buenger, the student response was positive.  Student newspaper reporters said they were grateful that Gingrich answered their questions, taking extra time, after his appearance to spend time with them.

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