Arnn Elementary school students interview veterans as part of Veterans Day classroom project | Item


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Noah Mills, left, a fourth-grade student at Arnn Elementary School in the family housing area of ​​Sagamihara, Japan, notes responses from William Birdsall, right, on November 10 at the school library. Birdsall, an Army veteran who now works as a program assistant at Camp Zama Youth Center, was there with five other military veterans to be interviewed as part of a Veterans Day project for the class of the teacher Jami LeFebre.
(Photo credit: Dustin Perry, US Army Garrison Japan Public Affairs)


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Students at Arnn Elementary School interview veterans as part of Veterans Day classroom project








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Andrea Crispell, right, a fourth-grade student at Arnn Elementary School in the Sagamihara Family Housing Area, Japan, listens to Jim Lacombe, in the foreground, answer questions on November 10 at the school library. Lacombe, an Army veteran and supervising librarian of Camp Zama, was there with five other military veterans to be interviewed as part of a Veterans Day project for the class of teacher Jami LeFebre.
(Photo credit: Dustin Perry, US Army Garrison Japan Public Affairs)


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(Photo credit: US Army)


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SAGAMIHARA FAMILY HOUSING ZONE, Japan (November 16, 2021) – A class project in which students at Arnn Elementary School interviewed a group of veterans on the eve of Veterans Day was supposed to give them an understanding deeper and a respect for the vacation, their teacher told them.

Jami LeFebre, who teaches fourth grade at Arnn, observed on November 10 as his students, divided into groups in the school library, asked the six visiting veterans questions about their experiences and memories of their military service.

“I think it’s important for my students to know why we all have a day off for Veterans Day,” said LeFebre. “I really want them to understand why we are celebrating the holiday and honoring those who worked in the military.”

Students took turns asking the Veteran seated with them six different questions and then transcribing the answers onto their worksheet. Gasps of “Whoa!” And “Really? Punctuated students’ writings as veterans told them how long they had served in the military, where they had been stationed, and their favorite memory of their time in service.

“The most interesting thing I think I learned is that [my veteran] was able to fly over an active volcano in Hawaii, ”said 9-year-old Cailyn Nelson. “He was the pilot. Not many people have this opportunity, so I think it’s really cool.

That pilot was Dale Jorgenson, who spent nine years as an active-duty soldier from 1983 to 1992, primarily flying UH-1 “Hueys” and UH-60 Black Hawks. Jorgenson is now manager of the Camp Zama golf course. He described the occasion as “the culmination of [his] year ”, saying it was fun to be surrounded by young people with so much energy and curiosity.

Jorgenson and the other veterans who participated did so after LeFebre asked Nicole Martinez, School Liaison Officer for Children and Youth Services, to contact the Camp Zama community and ask if any veterans were interested. The six people who eventually joined the event included former soldiers and airmen, active duty members and reservists, as well as people whose service ranged from a few years to career retiree status.

William Carter, an Army retiree who served from 1981 to 2001 and now works as an administrative assistant at Camp Zama Youth Center, said he enjoyed being able to give students insight into his experiences as a veteran. .

“[Talking to the students] brought back old memories of my first time in the military, ”Carter said. “The kids were very interested in how I got into the military, as well as my job as a [military police officer]. “

Randy Benton, who served nine years in the Air Force and is now the special events coordinator for the leadership of Camp Zama’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, said he was eager for the chance to give back to the military community by joining the project. , and let the students know how his time in the Air Force impacted his life.

“It was my first time being interviewed by kids,” Benton said. “They were very energetic and seemed intrigued by the answers I provided, as they asked for more details on each answer.”

Beck Ingram, 9, said he learned from his interview that servicemen often travel around the world to places like Germany and Korea. He added that although his father is a veteran, he was delighted to hear the unique stories of other veterans about their careers and experiences.

And Beck had another, more personal reason why he was looking forward to the interview.

“I think it’s important because I want to be in the military when I grow up,” Beck said, “so I have to learn what it’s like to be in the military and… learn from the other military people there. were already. “

Leila Kaea, 9, said the most interesting thing she learned from the interview was the existence of a place she had never heard of before. His veteran told him about the time he was stationed at Camp Wildflecken, Germany, a former U.S. Army training base that was decommissioned in 1994.

After the interview, Leila said she had a new appreciation for Veterans Day.

“Veterans Day was not very important to me when I was back in my old school because I was not on a military base,” said Leila. “Now it’s super important to me because I had this opportunity to be on a military base.”

Beck nodded, saying, “I used to think, ‘Oh, it’s just a day off without school,’ but when I started talking to a veteran, I felt Alumni Day more deeply. fighters.

Following their interviews, the veterans thanked the students and said their farewells. LeFebre said the project “went far beyond [her] expectations. ”This allowed his students to have a broader picture of the military outside of what their parents do – to understand that“ the military community extends beyond Zama; it extends to the – beyond Japan, ”LeFebre said.

“The students heard stories from Europe, they heard stories from Korea, they heard stories from the Americas,” said LeFebre. “They seemed so interested in what the veterans were saying and they seemed to really enjoy the interview process. They were really listening and I think their questions went beyond what they were originally asked.

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