Mililani High School student Travis Afuso and teacher Amy Boehning have been accepted into the Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom Albert H. Small Student & Teacher Institute. They will join 14 other student and teacher teams from across the country to learn about D-Day and World War II, and will travel to Washington D.C. and Normandy, France as part of the program.
"Congratulations to Travis and Amy on being selected for this once in a lifetime opportunity to learn about and experience the location of where such an important event in history took place," said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. "Our students learn about the role Hawaii played during World War II and it's wonderful when they have the chance to learn about the impact of the war beyond our shores."
The teams will select one Silent Hero from its hometown or region who is memorialized at the Normandy American Cemetery, and spend a year researching this person's life. In June, the teams will travel to Washington D.C. to finish their research with the help of the National Archives, historians and college professors. The final leg of their journey is to Normandy, France where they will visit the beaches of the D-Day invasion and deliver a eulogy for the Silent Hero they researched at the Normandy American Cemetery.
"With research assistance from their teachers, the students become deeply connected to their selected Silent Heroes," said National History Day Executive Director Cathy Gorn. "On that final day, when students read their eulogies, they memorialize someone they came to know, someone whose story they became responsible for telling. I am confident Travis will walk away with a powerful understanding of the sacrifice so many Silent Heroes made in World War II."
The Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom Albert H. Small Student and Teacher Institute seeks to teach a new generation about the sacrifices and challenges faced during World War II. The program is coordinated by National History Day and is funded by a generous donation from Albert H. Small, a veteran. To date, the program has shed light on the stories of 90 Silent Heroes. Each of them lives on in the digital memorial created by past participants and remains a powerful memorial to the sacrifice of Americans in World War II.
For more information about the program, click here.