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From New Orleans to the Shores of Normandy: Introducing the Normandy Academy

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Don’t miss the opportunity to send your high school student on the trip of a lifetime and a way to highlight the service and sacrifice of a soldier from your home state. In July 2013, The National WWII Museum will debut its latest educational travel program, Normandy Academy: Stories of Service and Sacrifice in collaboration with National History Day. Aimed at instilling in high school students an understanding of the service and sacrifices made by American soldiers during the invasion of Normandy, the Academy will involve students in deep research and an exceptional touring experience in New Orleans, Normandy and Paris.


Students will visit Le Grand Bunker Musee, a German bunker now turned into a museum overlooking the invasion beaches

Beginning this March, students who purchase the program will build friendships with peers from across the country in a reading and discussion forum guided by research mentors from The National WWII Museum. Books include Antony Beevor’s D-Day, Alex Kershaw’s The Bedford Boys and Stephen Ambrose’s Band of Brothers. Every student will be placed in a discussion group with four peers from across the country. At two week intervals, a Museum research mentor will contact each student to discuss the readings and offer support while the students discuss the reading themes and their research with each other. As the trip nears, students will shift focus to finding primary sources in their hometowns that will illuminate the experience of growing up in the Great Depression and the outbreak of WWII.

During the readings and discussions, students will select a soldier from their home state who is buried in the Normandy American Cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach. This fallen soldier will represent a personal connection for the student to the invasion of Normandy. All research and reading from the time each student selects a soldier will focus on the life and military service of that soldier.

On July 8, all students arrive in New Orleans where they will be greeted by renowned author Alex Kershaw at a special reception. For the next two days, the students will have access to the Museum’s collection of documents, images and artifacts. Guided tours of the exhibits and holdings will give the students a clearer view of their soldiers’ military service.

On July 11, the students and their research mentors will board a plane for Normandy where they will walk in the footsteps of the Normandy invasion. Highlights include the invasion beaches, Ste Mere Eglise, Pointe du Hoc and the Normandy American Cemetery. A welcome from the University of Caen will underscore the academic value of the experience.

The eulogy in the Normandy American Cemetery is the capstone of the project and a connection between generations

Once in the Normandy American Cemetery, the students will each be guided to the gravesites of their fallen soldiers where each student will deliver an original eulogy to the soldiers they have spent months researching. This eulogy will focus on the life, service and ultimate sacrifice of each soldier while connecting the two generations.

The trip concludes in Paris with a more relaxing tone that allows the students to experience the City of Light for two days and three nights. With its unsurpassed culture, art and history, Paris is a must-see destination for this program. Paris is saved for the end to provide a lasting reference point as to what was preserved on the Normandy battlefields. With tours of the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower, the students will gain a deep appreciation for the treasures of European culture that were saved from Nazi destruction.

Normandy Academy offers a preview of the type of research required at colleges and universities through an exhilarating foreign travel program. Participation in the Normandy Academy will make an excellent contribution to college applications and resumes. A full detailed itinerary and booking information can be found online. Booking information is also available by calling 504-528-1944 x 343.

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