With the shot of a replica 1860s musket, the walk-a-thon began.
Amid dozens of eighth-graders running and walking stood history teacher Tom Haywood in full Civil War battle garb, holding the musket that began the milelong walk.
Haywood has been re-enacting battles as a Civil War soldier and dressing up in various historical costumes for most of his 15-year teaching career.
Not only does he dress up for re-enactments, he wear his costumes during classroom lectures and school events. He also organizes a living history day for his middle school students.
His blue coat is made from authentic material that could have been used during the Civil War era. White gloves and a sash complete the outfit.
He wanted to use the school’s walk-a-thon to bring attention to the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and to kick-start a lesson about the war for later classes.
His look is iconic in Johnson County, where he traditionally helps at Johnson County Museum of History events and has been Abraham Lincoln at park events.
He has been a soldier at Conner Prairie, the living history museum in Noblesville, and has played Elvis Presley for a music history lesson in class.
Re-enacting history is how he helps bring the details of the past to his classes, he said.
“I guess I am seen as one of the fun people,” he said.