BTW team tapped for Normandy program
BY ANDREA EGER World Staff Writer
Sunday, January 13, 2013
1/13/13 at 2:46 AM
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High school history class doesn't lead many students or teachers to the monuments of Washington, D.C., or the beaches of Normandy.
But for one lucky sophomore and his teacher at Booker T. Washington High School, that dream scenario is about to come true.
Seamus Ryan-Johnson and history teacher Janet Thomas were selected as one of 15 student-teacher teams from applicants from all over the United States and U.S. Department of Defense schools all over the globe for National History Day's Albert H. Small Student and Teacher Summer Institute, "Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom."
"I've always been interested in history," said Ryan-Johnson. "My grandfather was a little too young to fight in World War II, but he served, and my maternal great-grandfather received the Purple Heart in World War I."
The duo have lots of preparing to do for their summer studies. In addition to reading eight books, they will be researching an American service member from Oklahoma who fought and died at Normandy as part of the Fallen Soldier Project.
The research will be used to create a permanent website to memorialize the soldier, as well as for Ryan-Johnson to eulogize his chosen subject during their trip to France.
Come June, they will be off to Washington, D.C., to be immersed in lectures presented by leading World War II historians and to participate in a scholarly study of the war memorials in the area.
Afterward, they will visit historic locations in and around Normandy and make presentations on the Normandy Campaign, and participate in a wreath-laying event at the Normandy American Cemetery.
"What a neat vision for a study program," said Thomas, who has been teaching at Booker T. for seven years and taught previously at Carver Middle School for 13 years.
"I've been to lots of teacher institutes but never one with student-teacher teams. It's wonderful because it passes it down to another generation."
Original Print Headline: BTW team set for Normandy trip
Andrea Eger 918-581-8470
History teacher Janet Thomas and student Seamus Ryan-Johnson, 15, were selected for a World War II history program that will include presentations by leading historians. JAMES GIBBARD / Tulsa World