America 250 – Keystone Classroom Initiative

America 250 – Keystone Classroom Initiative

America250PA Launches Keystone Classroom Initiative to Engage Pennsylvania Youth

By: Samantha Coran

The Pennsylvania Commission for the United States Semiquincentennial (America250PA) recently launched its Keystone Classroom Initiative (KCI) program in an effort to engage Pennsylvania youth. The Commission is aiming to reach 50,000 students by the nation’s Semiquincentennial in 2026.

The Keystone Classroom Initiative is a storytelling and visitation program for Kindergarten  through fourth grade classrooms, children’s hospitals, and youth camps across the Commonwealth. Along with an age-appropriate historical reenactor, storyteller, local celebrity, and/or mascot, America250PA is visiting children across Pennsylvania to educate them about their shared Pennsylvania story, as well as distribute an originally-designed America250PA Coloring Book and other Pennsylvania treats in anticipation of the 250th anniversary of the United States in 2026. The program was generously sponsored by presenting sponsors, The Hershey Company, Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, The Hawk Family Foundation, UPMC & UPMC Health Plan, The Pennsylvania School Boards Association, the University of Pittsburgh, and Allied Services.

America250PA’s first KCI visit took place at Gilbert Spruance Elementary School in Philadelphia County. The school’s Principal, Kwand Lang, shared his thoughts on the significance of the school being the first to launch the program: “Gilbert Spruance School is a very diverse school. Over 45% of our students speak a second language. We educate students born in many different countries of the world. Our diverse school culture represents the future of Philadelphia and is the perfect place to launch such an important program that celebrates our history while celebrating our present.”

Since the launch at Gilbert Spruance, America250PA has visited three other schools: Lincoln Elementary School in Erie County, Wyoming Area Primary Center in Luzerne County, and Paxtang Elementary School in Dauphin County. 

At these visits, America250PA brought along several special guests and volunteers, including First Lady Lori Shapiro, Auditor General Timothy DeFoor, Former Governor Mark Schweiker, the Pennsylvania State Police, and other elected officials. Mascots from local sports teams, colleges and universities have also been in attendance. These are a highlight for the students at each visit! 

America250PA anticipates a total of 14 KCI visits throughout the 2022–2023 school year. 

Volunteer opportunities may be available near you. 

Applications for visits during the 2023-2024 school year will open in June and the program will run from October 2023 through May 2024. Please sign up to receive updates as the application goes live! 

For more information about America250PA and the Keystone Classroom Initiative, please visit:


Samantha is the Director of Projects & Programming at America250PA. A native Philadelphian, she has a background in education with close to a decade of K-12 teaching experience. Samantha recently graduated from American University, where she obtained her MEd. in Educational Policy and Leadership. During her free time, Samantha enjoys spending time at the beach and hiking in the mountains with her family, including her two daughters.