As part of the Grand Opening of the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center, students from every state and the District of Columbia joined a group of World War II veterans in a special procession at the Dedication Ceremony. These 51 students earned their spots by first advancing to the 2012 National History Day Contest and then winning an essay contest asking them to describe their states’ contributions to World War II. Their essays are all available with archival photos at salutetofreedom.org.
While in New Orleans, the students were able to visit the Museum’s exhibits, tour the French Quarter and Garden District and attend the Grand Opening Gala. Every student mentioned that it was meeting their WWII veteran that was the highlight of the trip. Students and veterans exchanged contact information, and the students have been keeping their veterans up to date on college plans, scholarship applications and school projects.
Sixteen of these students advanced to the 2013 National History Day Contest to be held from June 9-13 in College Park, MD. Many of them used their interest in WWII to create projects that emphasized local contributions to the war effort.
Kilrain Popleon, Jalen Chatman, Ely'Asia Williams, and Amber Boutte stage a performance on the significance of Brown v. Board of Education
Seventy of Louisiana’s top history students will be competing in the National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland this June. These students qualified for the competition by placing first or second in one of 18 categories at the Louisiana History Day State Contest on Saturday, April 20. More than 1,200 students from all across Louisiana created projects for a series of competitions that begin at the school and regional level. Three hundred of these students competed at the State Contest in exhibit, paper, performance, documentary, and web site categories.
The theme of the Contest was “Turning Points in History.” Students were required to think critically about their chosen topics and communicate how their person, idea or event was a turning point in history. Students were very creative in choosing their topics, with projects ranging from an exhibit that detailed how the lives of people living with disabilities were fundamentally changed by the Americans with Disabilities Act to a documentary on Shakespeare’s impact on literary history.
From June 9-13, these seventy students will compete against their peers from all 50 state as well as and several US territories and international schools in Korea, East Asia, and South Asia, and several US territories.
On March 23, 2013, the New Orleans Regional History Day Contest took place at The National WWII Museum. More than 150 Students from five local parishes submitted their research projects for the competition. Students competed in one of five categories—exhibit, research paper, performance, documentary, or web site. Students could create and submit their project on their own or as part of a group. In addition to having their projects on display in the Museum, each student interviewed with a judging panel to defend their work and give the judges insight into their research process.
Students chose a range of topics including popular culture icons like Elvis Presley or Walt Disney and impacts of conflicts like World War II and the Cold War. One group of students went all the way back to the invention of the wheel with their rolling exhibit, while another group looked at more recent developments with a performance on the development and impact of hip hop dancing.
Winners in all categories were selected. Top projects in each category will return to the Museum on April 20, 2013 to compete against their peers from around the state in the Louisiana History Day State Contest. The top two projects in each category advance to the National Contest in Washington, DC from June 9-13, 2013. (more…)
Seth Husney carries the Idaho state flag while escorting Colonel Jimmie Kanaya at the Dedication Ceremony for the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center
Seth Husney from Boise, Idaho was one of 51 students to take part in the Grand Opening of the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center. Seth earned his trip to New Orleans by writing an essay describing how Idaho contributed to World War II. Seth was paired with Colonel Jimmie Kanaya, a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Seth also met Tuskegee Airman Captain Roscoe Brown during the event.
During last year’s National History Day, I was given the chance to enter the Salute to Freedom essay project. This competition involved writing an essay detailing my state’s role in World War II. Being from Idaho, I wrote about Minidoka, an internment camp in southern Idaho and Mountain Home Air force Base. After learning about both, I was proud of Mountain Home’s history. I was sad about how my state and our country treated loyal Japanese American citizens in internment camps during World War II.
As part of the opening of the new US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center, there was a procession with World War II veterans, and students, like me, who had been part of the essay contest. I was fortunate to be paired with Colonel Jimmie Kanaya, a veteran from Portland, Oregon. During the war, Jimmie had enlisted, and while he was serving, his parents were interned in the camp in Minidoka. His wife Lynn Kanaya was born in that same camp in Minidoka. It amazed me that while Jimmie was fighting loyally for his country, that same country was exhibiting the kind of racism he was fighting against. Would you fight for a country that put your parents in an internment camp? (more…)
Elizabeth Collier of Nashville, Indiana won the right to represent her state at the Grand Opening of the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center. As part of her honor, she contributed a photo essay on the Rosies of Indiana and her work appeared in an exhibition that was on display during the month of January. In her post below, Elizabeth describes the steps that she took to create an award-winning documentary on female workers during World War II and the thrill of winning an award at the National History Day Contest.
Elizabeth Collier with Mary Louise (center) and Fran Carter (right)
June 14, 2012. The day that I made that coveted run to the awards stage for the first time. I was overjoyed that my documentary was taking me back to the museum where I had first started all of my research to share the story of the WWII Rosie the Riveter.
I created an Individual Senior documentary about the incredible works of the WWII Rosie the Riveters entitled, “The Will Behind The Drill: The Revolution and Reforms of the WWII Rosie the Riveter.” My research had taken me to The National WWII Museum’s website, and I had found that they were more than willing to help students from around the country. As my parents and I made the trip to New Orleans, I met and researched with Museum curator, Kimberly Guise. As I learned about the women workers at the Higgins Plant in New Orleans, I also was blessed with the chance to interview the ladies of the National Rosie the Riveter Association in Birmingham, AL. Fran Carter, founder of the Association, told me so many stories of her days as a Riveter and how she continues to work with others like me to heed and remember their lessons. I was also able to interview several Riveters in my home state. Mary Harris from Nashville, In. greatly influenced me and my research, and shared stories of her past that she hadn’t thought of in years that brought a smile to her face. Dr. Elinor Ostrom, Nobel Prize laureate of Economics, also added insight to my documentary and shared her love of the work done by the WWII era women workers. (more…)
The Museum’s History Day program encourages students around Louisiana to engage in a deep study of history. One of the biggest benefits that students receive is an outside review of their project. All levels of History Day contests feature judges who donate their time to review student work, make suggestions for improvement, and determine the entries that will advance to the next round.
The National WWII Museum is looking for judges who possess good knowledge of history and great communication skills. You do not need a Ph.D. in history to serve as a judge. Communication skills are most important for this program. Students will want clear suggestions for how to improve their project.The feedback that students receive is critical to their growth as researchers. Most of the students will not pursue history as their college major or career choice, but the skills that students use in creating their History Day projects will apply to any college and career path they choose.
Judges are needed for the Regional and State Contests in New Orleans. The Regional Contest is on Saturday, March 23 at The National WWII Museum. Judges arrive at 8:30 am for a brief orientation and are welcome to stay through the Awards Cermonies ending by 2:30 pm. The State Contest is scheduled for Saturday, April 20 in New Orleans also at The National WWII Museum. Judges at the State Contest will determine Louisiana’s delegation to the National Contest. Find out more about Louisiana’s History Day program and Sign up to be a judge!
Don’t live in Louisiana? There is a National History Day program in your state. You can find the contact information for your state’s program at the National History Day website. If you are planning on being in the Washington, D.C. area in June, you can inquire about judging the National Contest.
Roy McKenzie from Prairie Grove, Arkansas won an essay contest that earned him the right to represent Arkansas at the Grand Opening of the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center. In preparation for this trip, each student contributed a photo essay detailing how their state helped win WWII. These photo essays also formed a physical exhibition that was on display throughout January. At the Dedication Ceremony on January 13, 2013, each student escorted a World War II veteran during the opening procession. Roy describes this experience below.
The Grand Opening. The crowning jewel to my weekend in New Orleans. As you can imagine, it was an exciting time, seeing the city, visiting the museum and other attractions, and the opening ceremony was certainly a great end to the excitement.
Getting to meet the veterans was, of course, an amazing part of the experience. Just mingling and listening to a lifetime of stories being recounted by these members of the Greatest Generation was a magical experience. There were those from all different areas and fields from the war, and yet they all were tied together by this event, this war, which truly defined much of their lives, as well as much of the United States today. Just meeting them in person hammered home to me how important these people, this generation, this war, was, to the United States and the rest of the world. I feel people don’t get to experience these kinds of intense, powerful moments of history often enough. (more…)
There’s a photo of me after receiving the Salute to Freedom Award at National History Day 2012. I had the biggest smile on my face. Because of this award, I got to attend the Grand Opening of the US Freedom Pavilion at the National WWII Museum. This is one of the greatest honors I have received and it created some of the best memories of my life.
We arrived on Thursday and went right to the museum. When we got to the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion, everyone was so happy to see us. The staff was incredibly hospitable and helpful. I felt almost like a rock star. The best part of that day was getting to meet two WWII veterans, Captain Don Summers and Bob Bannon. It’s one thing to read about the war, but when I talked to them, they made it seem real. Later on my visit, I also had the honor of meeting Bert Stolier, a Pearl Harbor survivor, and Tom Blakey, a D-Day paratrooper.
On Friday, I set about my great mission, reading every exhibit in the museum. Ah well, I came close, but no cigar. I later realized that this was a herculean task to perform in just three days. Throughout Friday, I noticed other Salute to Freedom students, who I would later know as Becka from North Carolina and Ruby from New Mexico. That night, I met them face to face, and also met Laura from Connecticut, Thomas from Colorado and Christian from Oregon. It was so cool to meet other kids who loved history. Later, we made an appearance at the Black Tie Gala. When we walked into the Freedom Pavilion, despite the beautiful gowns and dashing tuxedos of the attendees, none of us could keep our eyes off of the planes hanging from the ceiling. (more…)
Luke Jackson from Milford, Vermont won the right to represent his state at the Grand Opening of the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center with an essay on Vermont’s contribution to World War II. It was after Luke won this honor that we became aware of a close connection he had with the aftermath of WWII.
Luke advanced to the National History Day Contest in 2012 with a web site he created on the Berlin Airlift. During the research process, Luke reached out to veterans of the Airlift to find out their first-hand accounts of the action. He made contact with Lewis “Dale” Whipple, a veteran of the Berlin Airlift living in Benton, LA, a town just north of Shreveport. Mr. Whipple proved invaluable to Luke’s research and the two formed a close bond as Luke advanced through the rounds of the Vermont History Day competition and on to the National Competition.
At the National History Day Awards Ceremony last June 14, Luke found out that he won a trip to New Orleans for the Grand Opening of the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center. After finding out about the award and the trip, Mr. Whipple began making plans to meet Luke in New Orleans during the events. It is just over 350 miles from Benton to New Orleans, making Grand Opening weekend the opportune time for a face to face meeting. (more…)
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.
The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world - why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today - so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn.