Written by Roshan Fernandez and Anish Vasudevan.
Every year towards the end of February, the American Studies class, comprised of roughly 50 juniors, creates a video on a certain veteran’s war stories. On the day of their interviews, the students have a breakfast with the veterans where they introduce themselves and the veterans share scrapbooks or artifacts they have from their time in the war. After this short meeting the students head over to classrooms with their veterans to conduct interviews. In the videos veterans reflected on their experience in World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War and the Gulf War. Junior Shreya Ganapathy explains that interviewing veterans helps students see war in a different light since they hear about real life experiences.
“[The project] was really interesting because we got to hear about experiences from the war from someone who actually experienced it verses hearing about it from a video of someone who is talking about the topic or from a book where it’s probably exaggerated,” Ganapathy said.
According to American Studies teacher Cody Owens, who organized the event along with Vennessa Nava and Diana Goularte, another benefit of the project is that students gain insightful experience on military life. Since most students with immigrant parents don’t have family in the armed forces, he describes it as a unique opportunity.
“For me, I have a bunch of uncles that served, brothers served, cousins served, so I get a little bit more of that connection,” Owens said. “[The students] probably never interact with veterans or people who served in the armed forces..This is the one project that we probably have the most positive response to. I’ve had two students who enlisted in the armed forces and they talked to me about how it impacted them, so I think it’s nice to see a long-term impact by a project instead of just something that just gets forgotten.”