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 Appreciating Veterans Through Education: Olive Peirce Middle School Educator’s Year-Long Research Project Published

Ramona Unified School District Olive Peirce Middle School teacher Catherine Chiu Phillips spent the first half of 2017 researching the life of Private Esperidion A. Barratto as part of the Understanding Sacrifice program, a partnership between National History Day®, the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), National Cemetery Administration (NCA), and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. Last week, on Veteran's Day, Phillips's eulogy for Private Barratto and lesson plan, titled "Design It: Re-envisioning National Cemetery Administration Main Entrances," were published on the Understanding Sacrifice educators website.

Phillips' lesson plan is multi-disciplinary and based upon solid primary and secondary source research. Using primary and secondary sources, videos, and hands-on activities, students are transported from the modern-day home front to the war front of the past.

"The national cemeteries honor our veterans in a dignified and lasting way," explained Phillips. "This lesson explores the artistic elements used to design these memorials."

Accompanying the lesson plan is a Fallen Hero profile for Private Barratto, a "manong," or Filipino volunteer. "He was much older than the average enlisted men. His presence and participation during World War II had a profound impact on American service members and I am proud to help preserve and tell his story," said Phillips.

The year-long Understanding Sacrifice professional development program centers on Fallen Heroes of World War II who are buried or memorialized at an American cemetery in the Pacific Theater of World War II. In July 2017, Phillips joined 18 other exceptional educators as they traveled to San Francisco, Honolulu, and Manila, walking in the footsteps of history. Using their research, teachers created lesson plans, Fallen Hero profiles, and eulogies now published on the award-winning site.

"This partnership with the ABMC, NCA, and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University has allowed us to uncover the history of 20 fallen heroes of World War II," said National History Day Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. "Their unique experiences can now help teachers around the world bring history to life with the materials added to It is my hope this resource helps students discover a vivid understanding of the high cost paid by all Americans during this war."

Each lesson plan is integrated with state standards, aligned to the C3 Framework, and makes use of interpretive materials provided by ABMC and NCA. They are accompanied by research about fallen heroes of World War II who are honored at American cemeteries in both the Pacific and European theaters of World War II.