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SPPS Student-Teacher team chosen to study World War II in Hawaii

Published by Saint Paul Public Schools Jan. 16, 2020

Sam and Courtney

Photo Credit: National History Day in Minnesota

A student-teacher team from SPPS will have the unique opportunity to walk in the footsteps of history this summer to study the impact of World War II in the Pacific.

Samuel Skinner, a 10th grade student at Como Park Senior High School, and Courtney Major a Social Studies teacher at  Murray Middle School, will participate in the second annual Sacrifice for Freedom: World War II in the Pacific Student & Teacher Institute in Hawaii. Courtney was Samuel’s Social Studies teacher in sixth grade when he was at Murray, and she remains his advisor to this day. 

The program brings together student-teacher teams from Hawaii, American Samoa and the U.S. mainland to study World War II by touring historical sites and landmarks to learn firsthand about the impact of World War II in the Pacific. The pair from SPPS are one of 16 teams throughout the U.S. chosen for this opportunity.

Over the next six months, these teams will read books and selected materials, engage in online discussions and research a Silent Hero, a member of the military who died in World War II and is buried or memorialized at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. The teams will create Silent Hero eulogies and profiles that will be presented when they gather in Hawaii in June.

The Sacrifice for Freedom: World War II in the Pacific Student & Teacher Institute is coordinated through National History Day.

Hundreds of middle and high school students in SPPS participate in National History Day in Minnesota events every year.

Students choose a topic that relates to an annual theme, conduct research on the topic, and present their research in one of five presentation categories: research paper, exhibit, documentary, performance or website.

Students may then enter their projects into History Day competitions at school, regional, state, and national levels. The theme for 2020 History Day is “Breaking Barriers in History.”