Friday, September 23, 2011

History Connected Institute Inspires A New Memorial

Over this past summer, I was able to be a part of the History Connected Summer Institute. During this institute, we spend one day focusing on the war memorials and went on a walking tour of some of the memorials, monuments, and markers that the city of Lowell had present. After much discussion, my colleague Tracey Kassin and I began to discuss the possibilities of applying this new knowledge to creating a 9/11 memorial for the town of Wilmington, which we both teach in. We have taken the time over the summer to meet a number of times with our Superintendent of Schools and Town Manager in order to create a war memorial for those who have recently lost their lives in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as those who lost their lives during 9/11. Initially, the memorial was scheduled to be on our town common along with our other war memorials. After lengthy discussions and meetings we agreed it might be best to arrange to have the war memorial in the courtyard of our new high school. With the upcoming ten year anniversary, we have worked to organize a committee which will meet with the team of engineers and architects that are presently designing our new high school. We have created a 5-6 day lesson plan on War Memorials using the text Lies Across America by James W. Loewen as a resource. We hope to have the students involved in the process as much as possible. This is a great teaching and learning experience for our students and something that is important for our Town. This project is a long term project which will be student based.

The progress that we have made so far with this project is as follows. We have already formed a 9/11 Memorial Committee consisting of 35 students, the town manager, superintendent of schools, and two history teachers (Tracey Kassin and myself). We kicked off this project on September 11th of this year during the 10 year anniversary tribute which our town hosted on the common. Along with members of the police, fire and military members of our town, Our committee president (student) and I were able to each give a speech to all those present explaining the goals of our 9/11 Memorial Committee. Tracey Kassin has designed a website for our Memorial Committee and we have already begun to receive calls and e-mails from people who are interested in contributing financially or lending a helping hand. The committee has been working on designing containers to collect donations from students of all ages in the various school buildings, as well as designing t-shirts to sell as fundraisers on Veterans and Memorial Day. .We have also organized a field trip to the 9/11 Memorial in New York City for our student to visit, pay their respects and learn more about this event. This project is student based and a long term project, which in the end will serve as a great teaching/learning experience as well as a memorial for those who have sacrificed for us.

1 comment:

  1. Mark and Tracey, thank you for this description of your work on such an important project for your students and the town of Wilmington. I am looking forward to following the memorial project as it continues! Your record of progress (on this blog, your website, etc.) will hopefully inspire others to undertake similar projects!