Eighth graders at Liberty Middle School learned about primary and secondary sources for research. Their textbooks and online references for military service are mostly secondary. For a special project that wrapped up on Veterans Day, they went to the primary sources — the people who were involved in military conflicts or served during peacetime.
Sandy Foster asked her English students to interview area veterans — a relative, neighbor, friend, or someone whose name Foster provided. The students then researched the branch of service that veteran represented, and the time period in which he served. The results were put together in displays set up in the library on Monday and the veterans were invited to lunch with the students.
In their social studies classes, the students studied the Bill or Rights and wrote essays on why it is important to fight for those rights.
"It's a neat cross-curricular project," Foster explained. "The kids learned interview skills, about paraphrasing, about primary and secondary sources and about those time periods."
She was pleased at the outcome; however, after putting an ad in the paper inviting all veterans for lunch, she had been a little nervous about the menu. A "good crowd" showed up and there was plenty of soup, hotdogs, cake and cookies for everyone.
Warren and Barbara Davis were lunch guests of Julie Daniels. A World War II veteran of the Marine Corps, Davis was an "island hopper."
"I only told her the good stuff," Davis teased, but then said he gave Daniels a pretty thorough account of his service.
"I learned a lot of stuff I didn't know about World War II," said Lindsey Bergner, of her interview with Ivan Phillips. "We had to do a lot of research."
Veterans involved in the project were the very recent whose service was in Afghanistan and Iraq back to World War II and included peacetime as well as conflict.