PRINCESS ANNE, MD, November 11, 2021 – Washington Academy & High School (WAHS) students in Mrs. Robin Ford’s 8th grade Honors US History class recently completed a Veterans Day project. Students were asked to interview a Somerset County veteran and present the highlights of that interview to their classmates. Most students interviewed family members and friends with veteran status, but those without close veteran ties were encouraged to visit the local American Legion or interview one of several WAHS veteran staff members. Veteran staff at WAHS include Language Arts Teacher, Shawnna Fontaine (US Army & Army National Guard), US & World History Teacher, Justin Inhat (US Army), Math Teacher, Anthony Marshall (US Navy) and Student Resource Officer (SRO), Tony Morton (US Marine Corps).
Students were asked to gather information about their veteran’s military branch, rank, service medals, years of service and training. In their own words, veterans were asked what it means to them to be a veteran, and why they chose to join the military. Other questions included what a typical day in the military looked like, and what were their most memorable moments. Finally, students were instructed to thank their veteran for their time, service and sacrifices.
Classroom instruction on Veterans Day included a discussion about Richard Overton, who at the age of 112 years was the oldest verified surviving US WWII veteran. Students also discussed the risks and the benefits of joining the military, including SRO Tony Morton in the exercise who stated that learning discipline was a benefit during his service in the Marine Corps. Students were then asked to write a thank-you letter to a veteran as their final assignment.
Mrs. Ford said of her class, “I do a Veterans Day segment each year with my US History students. As someone with many veterans in my family, I understand the sacrifices made by our service members. Some students may not directly know a veteran, so this exercise can be a really impactful learning experience for them.”
Students list the risks and benefits of serving in the military while SRO Morton, a US Marine Corps veteran looks on.
Student, Emily W. presents what she learned in her veteran interview assignment.
Mrs. Ford explains the “Letter to a Veteran” assignment before the end of class.