WHS students write WWII book
Forget the text books, the pages and pages of notes taken during sleepy classroom lectures and the tests with the fill-in-the-blank dates to be spouted off by shear memorization.
Instead, George Whittell High School sophomores picked up their pens in true historian style and became experts of subjects of an event of their grandparents era – World War II. They researched the topic so diligently, they wrote their own book about the subject.
How could a bunch of teen-agers, with their high-tech computers, cell phones, beepers and cable TV, possibly know anything about the hardships and trials of the World War II era?
It’s simple – they asked.
The 65 world history students interviewed members of the World War II generation and heard many perspectives. They listened to war stories from veterans on the front line, the opinions of foreign-born Americans who lived in another country at the time and the sense of patriotism that some Americans carried at home.
And the images really stuck in some of the students minds, said 15-year-old Meredith Shaw.
“We learned a lot from people describing and remembering what it was like,” she said. “It’s a hands-on experience and you absorb so much more. You learned at a whole different level.”
Bill Lane, a World War II Navy veteran who was interviewed by a history student, agreed.
“The learning is so much more personal when you can look in someone’s eyes,” he said. “It makes a much greater impact.
“They heard about how there was gas rationing, food rationing,” he said. “It all went to the war effort and everyone was so dedicated to helping out in any way they could.”
Copies of the book were given to the 65 people who shared their stories with the students at a reception on May 28. The 58-page book is called “A Glimpse Into the Past: Interviews with Members of the WW II Generation.”
Ilana Rugg, Whittell’s world history teacher, said the project gave the students an opportunity to be the historians by gathering information not from secondary sources but from a witness of a time period.
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