Get in the Scrap! Featured Artifact: High School Yearbook
For the past few years, the Museum has collected World War II high school yearbooks from across the country. We now have one yearbook from almost every state telling the diverse stories of students on the Home Front during the wartime, all available online at ww2yearbooks.org. Some experiences of high school students from the war years don’t differ greatly from what we see today: prom, football games, after school clubs, extracurricular activities. However, there is a stark contrast in many of these yearbooks from current times, including how students’ lives were shaped by the war. In some cases, it chronicles stories of former classmates joining the military and serving oversees, in others, it shows Japanese American students forcibly leaving their school during the middle of the year, to be relocated to one of the internment camps through the American West and South for the remainder of the war.
One very common thread through most of these books is how high school students supported the war effort, and the serious contribution schools across the country made to ‘back the attack.’ Broadway High School in Seattle, WA bought a jeep for the military in 16 days. At Topeka High School in Kansas, the Victory Corps assisted in distributing ration books to the community. At Carl Schurz High School in Chicago, their club the “Red Cross Unit” collected funds and necessary articles for the Red Cross to distribute to soldiers.
Many schools also gathered hundreds of tons of scrap throughout the entire year. In the 1944 Daisy Chain yearbook from Waco High School in Waco, Texas, students were dedicated to the cause of scrapping, as evidenced by the 2-page spread cartoon showing students across the entire campus feverishly working toward this common goal. Check it out and answer the questions below:
What are some of the items they are collecting?
Where do you think all of that scrap material is going?
What other wartime activities do you notice in the cartoon?
What can this cartoon tell us about student life at Waco High School during the war?
Teachers, feel inspired by what you see?
Your students can make a difference like students growing up in WWII by joining our Get in the Scrap! service learning program. With the support of the Museum and an easy-to-implement project toolkit, your students can complete fun and simple conservation and recycling activities that can translate into big results. Your school can even earn prizes by completing as many activities as possible before the end of the school year. Participation is easy by signing up at getinthescrap.org. More details to come!
Post by Chrissy Gregg, Virtual Classroom Coordinator