Fort Collins High School (CO) hosts local community member
Fort Collins' History Club was visited by Dick Foth, a townsperson who lived through World War II. Mr. Foth shared with the students his recollection of the time and how the entire town and country pulled together for a greater cause. Read more about Mr. Foth's visit through a reflection from student Trevor Hoffman.
Brownsburg High School (IN) pays tribute to local veterans
Brownsburg's History Club was able to construct a memorial to honor the local veterans of the town, which now sits at the entrance of the school for all to see. Much of the community was also involved in the project and the development of the memorial was a two year process that was finished in incredible time through the hard work and dedication of the Club members and sponsors. This monument was made possible through generous donations from Brownsburg Education Foundation and the Hendricks County Community Foundation. The Club also had support from the American Legion in Brownsburg, who donated brass medallions for the memorials and even had a representative at the unveiling who spoke on behalf of the organization. The memorial will serve as a place for members of the community to come and pay tribute to the veterans that have served for their country.
Leap of Faith: A World War II Story
A World War II veteran shares the story of the harrowing six months he spent in German prison camps and his eventual triumphant return to the United States. At just 18 years old, Hjalmar Johansson went on his first WWII mission as a nose gunner in a B-24 bomber. When his squadron came under heavy fire, Hjalmar and the rest of the crew were forced to abandon their plane behind enemy lines with no help in sight. Watch this incredible video!
Hopewell Middle School (TX) honors WWII submarine Veteran
Club President Aurelia Incristi tells the incredible story of Pastor John Gurley! Pastor Gurley still skydives on his birthday, and he will soon be 90 years young this year! He still does all of the upkeep (i.e. mows and trims the entire cemetery grounds, burns the fallen brush, tree limbs, repairs damaged head stones out of his own pocket, visits regularly to make sure UHC is okay, etc... ) at Union Hill Cemetery to show respect and bring dignity to those that have passed.
Lake Central (IN) and Clover Hill High School (VA) - "Lost and Found: Remembering Our Fallen Troops"
A generation of high school students have been tracking down the families of Indiana's war dead and creating an archive of their mementos, their letters, the stories of loved ones lost in combat and lives lived in grief. Check out these amazing videos from the CBS Evening News and Wall Street Journal.
Clover Hill "It Took a War" project is now in its 13th year, and students have interviewed about 100 WWII veterans and have accumulated over 8,000 original WWII letters that they house in the school museum. Find out more through this captivating video!
Red Bank (NJ) celebrates Black History Month
Red Bank Regional’s (RBR) diversity and talents were on full display at its annual celebratory assembly for Black History Month. Students from various groups within the school contributed their time and skills to enlighten their peers on the importance of celebrating Black History. Principal Risa Clay welcomed her school and explained the origins of Black History Month which was initiated by Harvard Historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson during the month of February, the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, extremely influential leaders in African American History.
The Multicultural Club presented a summary of the evolution of Black music from the 1950s to the 1990s highlighting such musical icons as Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, James Brown and Whitney Houston among so many others. The students also gave a demonstration on “Stepping”, popularized by Greek fraternities in historically black colleges which, like many other African-American inventions, spread to the greater American culture. The History Club highlighted the lives of “Unsung Heroes” of the Civil Rights era including such heroes and heroines as Dorothy Irene Height, Bayard Rustin, Daisy Bates, and Medgar Evers to name a few. The RBR Visual & Performing Artists entertained their peers with a multitude of modems. The Strings Ensemble Presented “Amazing Grace” and “Movement and Blues”. The RBR Dancers performed a student-choreographed dance to “Ordinary Love” the theme song for the movie Mandela - Long Walk to Freedom. Creative writers and performance poets elicited the audience’s cheers with their captivating original works and performances related to contemporary events in Ferguson and other parts of the country that have spotlighted the realization that, though civil rights have come a long way, there is still a ways to go.
Speaking not just to the past but to the future and personal responsibility was the keynote speaker Julius Clark. The Vice Principal of Red Bank Middle School is an icon among many of the students at RBR who he mentored through their middle school years. Mr. Clark’s message was powerful and blunt. He warned the students against accepting stereotypes of people and using such as an excuse to fail. He stated, “I do not let my color, or what people (might) think of me, to define who I am. You determine what others will think of you (by your actions).” Admitting that, like other young black men, he encountered racism, but it was a challenge that he overcame. Never did he resort to violence, stating, “That is what they were looking for.” Instead his response was to achieve his bachelor’s degree, then his masters and at the age of 31, the position of Vice Principal and he added, “And I still have much more to accomplish.”
He ended his speech with a demonstration asking all the students to stand and reach as high as they could. Then he asked them to reach a little higher, stating, “Just know that when you think you have reached your capacity, you could always go a little higher.”
Chapter Spotlight - Clover Hill High School (VA)
So far this year, we have been very active. At the beginning of the school year, our Chapter President, Calli Bellinger and our Club Advisor, James Triesler were asked to do a presentation at the Virginia War Memorial Teacher’s Institute. The program was called “World War II: Our Stories” and it featured comments by both World War II veterans and Holocaust Survivors. In addition, Mr. Triesler displayed World War II letters and artifacts and Calli Bellinger spoke about the It Took A War Project. This project consists of World War II letters, diaries, photos, interviews, and artifacts that are housed at Clover Hill High School and are part of a website created by Mr. Triesler’s Historical Research Class. The website www.ittookawar.com was the winner of a Save Our History Award from the History Channel in 2006.
On October 3rd, members of the National History Honor Society/National History Club participated in a trip to Historic Jamestown. As part of the trip, the group visited where the original Jamestown Fort once stood. While on the tour, the group learned about the history of the site as well as the discoveries made in recent years. Original locations of structures inside the Fort walls, such as churches and wells, revealed much about the reality of the colonists’ lives and the methods they used to survive in their early years. As NHC members toured the inside of the Fort, archaeologists with the Jamestown Rediscovery Project worked inside an area that they believe may have been part of a well. Watching the process of how history is uncovered gave many of the members a new perspective on the work of historians as well as a greater understanding of the methods used to ascertain facts about a community that was lost long ago.
After touring the inside of the Fort, the members moved into a museum that contained many of the artifacts discovered through the project. Highlights in the museum included “Arrow Boy” and “Jane,” both uncovered skeletons that revealed a great deal about the colonists and their interactions with each other and with the indigenous population.
The final part of the trip included an inside look at “The Vault” of artifacts as well as time with VCU Professor Dr. Bernard Means. Dr. Means demonstrated the 3D imaging process and how he is able to use technology to further our understanding of history. In addition, many of the students were scanned and had digital 3D images of themselves made. Inside “The Vault,” the group saw many of the over one million original artifacts that have been found through the project and learned what happens to the artifacts after they are discovered. In this portion of the trip the students were able to interact with 3D printed copies of tobacco pipes, fish scales, and one of an uncovered skull. Before heading back to school, the group was fortunate to meet Dr. Kelso, archaeologist and leader of the Jamestown Rediscovery Project. Through the work of Dr. Kelso, the rediscovery of the Jamestown Fort was made possible. Overall, the trip was a great experience and introduced many of our members to a new way of looking at the history of Jamestown.
Local History - Rainier Jr/Sr High School (OR)
The students of the Rainier Junior/Senior High School History Club led the public back in time once again as they presented the 7th Annual Rainier Revisited on Saturday, April 12, 2016! Held on the grounds of the Beaver Homes Grange, the Club organized and prepared their perspective of 1853 life in Rainier, Oregon and Northwest histories.
Returning this year was David Placido, who guided visitors through his agriculture demonstration, along with Lilia Demko, who presented period arts and crafts, planting of seeds which might have been grown on the grounds in the time period, and sachet making. Ms. Virginia Rose returned and brought her character alive again as she portrayed the owner of a yarn and fabric store within the town. Mr. Mel Brady returned as Mr. Charles E. Fox while Gary and Jody Lewis set up their hands-on period blacksmith display, taking on an apprentice and entertaining visitors. Finally, Pat and Karen Haas were also in attendance, leading visitors through their lively storytelling and demonstrations.
Throughout the course of the day, guests watched the blacksmith demonstration, History Club students participating in reveille, a preliminary hearing, and a retreat. Meanwhile, the townspeople provided refreshments in the store, while a spinning demonstration was given and period games were played. As the day progressed, students stayed in period character and addressed guests as “sir” or “ma’am”.
Throughout the year, the Rainier History Club worked on fundraising opportunities to buy new props, costumes and needed supplies. In lieu of an admission fee, the Club stayed with the tradition of asking for monetary or food donations which were given to H.O.P.E. ~ Help Our People Eat, the local food bank. The History Club would like to thank all of their sponsors including Clatskanie PUD, Mrs. Tobie Finzel – Vernonia Hands-on Art Board, Randy Skeans - Just-A-Mere Farm, Columbia River PUD, WorldStrides, Country Financial, Bob’s Towing, Educational Maps and Globes – Kirk Fullmer, The Placido Family, Mt. St. Helens Chapter DAR, Cash Advantage Carpet Cleaning, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Teevin Brothers and the Demko Family. This year, the Club would also like to thank the Rainier Education Association for the donation made in the name of Mr. David Hourigan, a long-time Social Studies Teacher for the Rainier School District.
Planning for the 8th Annual Rainier Revisited has already begun. The Club plans to continue fundraising and gaining sponsors so they can continue to add to the reenactment. If you would like more information, contact Andy Demko, History Club Advisor at Rainier Junior/Senior High School.