Community Service

Educators who participate in the annual Friends of the National World War II Memorial Teachers Conference in Washington, DC return to their communities with a commitment to complete a year-long community service project with their students. The result is countless service-learning initiatives popping up across the nation that promote critical thinking and personal reflection while encouraging a heightened sense of community, civic engagement, and personal responsibility – all the values of our Greatest Generation.

Becky Morrison, Class of 2017

Poquoson, Virginia

Select Other Community Service Projects

Karyn Cabana – Clear Falls High School in League City, Texas, Class of 2017

This project worked with the Battleship Texas (which fought in 5 major campaigns in WWII including Normandy, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and Cherbourg) to help with maintenance and restoration efforts. Students did a “Penny Drive” to raise funds to donate to the Battleship Texas Foundation to help with restoration efforts. They also got “hands on” at the Battleship by staying aboard the ship overnight to learn about life aboard during WWII and then cleaning the ship and surrounding grounds the following day. Students who were unable to make it to the ship did a supply drive to provide the needed supplies to support the clean-up.

Matthew Fash – Lenape Middle School in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Class of 2017

This project asked students to conduct interviews with local WWII veterans at local nursing homes and send the interviews to the Library of Congress Veteran History Project. The students also edited the interviews and made short educational documentaries using media sources to tell the story of key moments of WWII. In addition, the school hosted a lunch and reception for the WWII Veteran participants where the veterans could view their documentaries and interact with the students. The project expanded to a 9th grade honors research assignment called the World War Two News Broadcast Assignment. For this assignment, students viewed the interviews conducted by the middle school students, used local libraries, and internet resources to produce a news broadcast that focused on key events of World War Two.

Jennifer Whitson – Steelville Middle School in Steelville, Missouri, Class of 2018

“QR Codes and a Whole Lot More”: The seventh grade Enrichment class is researching the history of their community, Steelville, MO, through the use of books, newspaper archives, state historic archives, court documents, and interviews of local historians and other citizens. This research is being compiled into documents and placed on the school’s server temporarily, soon to be transferred to the Steelville Tourism Committee’s webpage when the work is completed. QR codes will be created and will be placed on a window of each of the historic buildings (business and governmental office buidings), allowing all who are interested to learn about the buildings and the history of the town.

This research has also been instrumental in growing interest to create a museum for the community, with a proposed completion date of May 2024. The students have been asked to help with the museum project as well.

Richard Saulino – Red Hook High School in Red Hook, New York, Class of 2018

Mr. Saulino’s U.S. History classed worked to put together care packages to send to current U.S. Service Personnel overseas. They raised funds, took donations, and invited local Red Hook veterans to join them in putting the packages together to be shipped. They also interviewed the veterans about their service experiences. They put together 17 care packages of personal care items, stationary, and snacks and shipped them out to four contacts, two of whom are Mr. Saulino’s former students. The packages are on their way to Germany, Iraq, and South Korea.

Juliet Lonetto – Lafayette Jefferson High School in Lafayette, Indiana, Class of 2018

Ms. Lonetto and her students hosted a USO Party at a local senior home in honor of the 78th anniversary of the USO. The had food, music, dancing, a magician, and even brought dogs from the local humane society. They turned the dining room into a USO Hall, honored 3 World War II veterans. They also honored 15 other veterans by displaying their pictures along with information about their service branch and the war they fought in. They have already been asked to come back next year and make it an annual event.

Lucy Berry – Middlesex Middle School in Darien, Connecticut, Class of 2018

Ms. Berry and her students led a campaign in their town to place veterans’ names on existing street signs as a way of bringing attention to the sacrifice and service of local veterans and honoring them. She worked with the Town Board of Selectmen, Department of Public Works, Police and Traffic Commission, and Memorials and Ceremonies Commission and applications have come in for veterans to be honored. The Memorials and Ceremonies Commission has chosen its first honoree, a living WWII veteran, whose name will appear on a street sign which will be installed for an unveiling ceremony on Memorial Day weekend.

Her students are also writing essays to submit to the Memorials and Ceremonies Commission and one will be read at the installation ceremony. Students will also be advertising for the ceremony around town and inviting people to come see the unveiling. In the future, the information about the chosen veterans will be available for students to work with when they study U.S. involvement in foreign wars.

Erin Coggins – Sparkman High School in Madison, Alabama, Class of 2018

Students are serving as living history for the education day of the “Wings Over Courtland” event, a local WWII event that focuses on the history of the Courtland, Alabama airbase. Students will teach 110 sixth graders on subjects including: Air Corps recruitment, the home front, propaganda, and planes. They will be dressed in 1940s clothing and sharing first account stories from the airbase.

Ronna Haney – Stuart Public School in Stuart, Oklahoma, Class of 2018

Ninth and Eighth grade history students are working on a Service Learning Project called “Readers Are Leaders,” with the early childhood students in PreK and kindergarten. Each month on the last Friday, these students visit the early childhood classrooms and engage the early childhood students in think//pair/share activities, reader’s theater, and read to/listen activities. These activities are self directed, self chosen, and self-guided by each “Big Buddy” who is working one-on-one with an early childhood student, “Little Buddy.”

Maggie Brown – Rocky Run Middle School in Chantilly, Virginia, Class of 2019

Students will work to lead their school toward “zero waste” policies and practices; things like fixing the recycling program, creating videos for the school news show to suggest ways that students can reduce their own waste, and finding ways to reduce the amount of paper that the school uses on a regular basis.

Zachary Colegrove – Twinsburg High School in Twinsburg, Ohio, Class of 2019

The Speech and Debate team will interview veterans and record the interviews to create a digital library that can then be stored at the school for use as a primary resource to students. It will also help the Speech and Debate team members further develop their skills.

Hope Myers – The Benjamin School in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, Class of 2019

During Holocaust Remembrance Week, they are hosting a film festival. They will screen The Great Dictator (1940) on the school’s movie screen with a professor of history giving a brief talk setting the movie in the context of how Hollywood saw the early treatment of the Jews in Germany and Poland. A student, who won an essay competition, will introduce the professor. They will invite all the JCCs and assisted living communities to come and the NHS and other school clubs will assist the elderly in getting their seats and having a great experience.

Stephanie Naegele – Eric Solorio Academy High School in Chicago, Illinois, Class of 2019

As part of their Project Soapbox unit, students will write speeches about pressing issues in their community. Then, classes will agree upon the top four most re-occurring or popular issues addressed in the speeches and research those topics and past solutions to these issues in depth. The students will then take what they’ve learned and come up with their own solutions. As part of this process, they will invite community activists to the school to look at their prototype solutions and given them feedback. After revisions have been made, the students will then take action within their community to address the issue.

The Friends of the National World War II Memorial’s education programs are generously supported by the Jack C. Taylor / Enterprise Rent-A-Car WWII Memorial Education Endowment.

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