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No surprise parties when America turns 250


When a bunch of politicians descended on Durham-Nockamixon Elementary School this month, they delivered an important heads-up to the students: the nation’s 250th birthday is coming in just two years.

That would be the semiquincentennial celebration in July 2026. It’s history in the making.

The local gathering was a bipartisan one. Joining hands with the Keystone Classroom Initiative’s America 250PA project were former state Gov. Mark Schweiker and state Rep. Craig Staats, both Republicans, and Bucks County Commissioner Bob Harvie and state Rep. Tim Brennan, both Democrats.

Also visiting were staff members from U.S. Sen. Robert Casey’s office, a historical re-enactor, two state police officers and a couple of college mascots.

America250PA is a storytelling and visitation program for kindergarten through fourth grade classrooms, children’s hospitals, and youth camps across the state.

The goal of the project is to teach the youngsters about the role Pennsylvania has played in the country’s rich history and diversity, and to prepare for the celebrations planned for July 4, 2026.

“The program will circle through all of the state’s 67 counties,” said Durham-Nockamixon’s Principal Marie C. Collie, who was thrilled her school was the only one in Bucks County selected for the program.

Collie said the visiting politicians read books to the children who also received swag bags containing t-shirts, pencils, crayons, a Pennsylvania coloring book and chocolates, items donated by the program’s sponsors. Jumping in to deliver the swag bags were four mascots, Archie of Misericordia University; Benny the Raven of Rosemont College; Spike, Durham-Nockamixon’s bulldog mascot; and the Palisades High School Pirate.

“The children loved it,” said Collie.

The visit also included an assembly for third- and fourth-grade students. It featured Ben Franklin, a historical re-enactor from Historic Philadelphia Inc.

America250PA Executive Director Cassandra Coleman explained, “This program will allow us to visit with more than 50,000 Pennsylvania students all across the commonwealth by the time the anniversary rolls around.”

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