Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Classy Classroom Tribute

It's not always family who build WWII sites. Students sometimes do, too, as part of learning about the Second World War. The 9th, 10th and 11th graders at Hershey High School in Hershey, Penn., created this unique site. Jeff Mummert's American Cultures and World Cultures Honors classes fashioned a vivid, professional and colorful online experience from artifacts belonging to Mummert's grandfather, stationed with the 10th Mountain Command in Italy whose book of Bill Maudlin cartoons became a yearbook filled with notes and names of his comrades-in-arms. Intrigued by the signatures, Mummert's students began finding out what happened to the individuals, creating an Excel spreadsheet documenting who received medals (Mummert's grandfather was awarded a Bronze Star) and the home towns of the soldiers. The students discovered WWII soldiers could be just as impatient with rules and regulations as any high schooler.

"The artifacts and documents describe the experiences of a person just like themselves, and not too far from their age," Mummert says. "The Maudlin book and medal lists, in particular, reflect the heroism of American soldiers, but more importantly in the historical context they show the challenging conditions, fear, comradeship and the healthy disrespect for authority evident among the common solider."

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