Kristin Perrin, a Brunswick High School senior Language Arts teacher, recently received a grant from the Brunswick Education Foundation (BEF) to help fund her project, A Veteran’s Story Share. This is the second time the project has taken place in Brunswick High School.
Students involved in the project were broken down into groups of about 10 students for every veteran. In the groups, the students conducted interviews with the veterans to learn more information about war and its effects on the surrounding world. To go along with this project, students read The Things They Carried, a war book about Vietnam, and The Yellow Birds, a war book about Iraq. The local veterans came into the school and told the students their stories, which the students then used along with information from the books to write an essay on how war has impacted society.
Perrin decided to bring local veterans into the classroom to allow students to have an outside view that they do not usually get to experience firsthand. Her end goal was to create a sense of community throughout the lives of the students and even the veterans. “As I tell the veterans as they come in and as I tell the students, the exchanging of stories- that’s what binds us. That’s what creates community and that’s what we want the students to have is community with the people who are serving their country or who have served their country,” Perrin stated.
Perrin believes that this project was a success for the students. A majority of the students gained new perspectives from the veterans and changed the way they thought about war. “You can’t ask for any more than that as an educator when your students’ thinking gets changed.”
The BEF awarded Perrin a grant to conduct her project. The grant allowed Perrin to buy materials to organize the event as well as put on a meet-and-greet with the veterans. The meet-and-greet was an integral part to the project because it allowed the students to break down the wall between them and their veteran before they started conducting their interviews. This allowed students to feel more comfortable and open with asking questions.
Perrin is very grateful for the help she has received from the BEF, “Over the years that I have been here they have awarded multiple grants and have helped me with a lot of projects and you can’t ask for any more help than that. They have been incredibly gracious so I am also appreciative to their help and their willingness to help teachers make education better for students.”
Allison Rhoades, a senior at Brunswick High School, is one of over forty student “backpack journalists” (grades 6-12) in the award-winning BEAT Video Program. The Program is sponsored by RPM, Scripps-Howard Foundation, Plum Creek Assisted Living Community, Baskets Galore, Medina County Arts Council, Medina County Women’s Endowment Fund, Brunswick Eagles 3505 Brunswick, Rotary Club and Lorain County Community College at Midpoint Campus Center. Go to TheBeat22.com to learn more about the Program, or visit TheBeat.pegcentral.com to view videos produced by the students.