WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDAM) - This is a news release from National History Day.
Raymond C. Brookter of Laurel High School is one of 18 middle and high school educators selected by National History Day (NHD) to participate in Understanding Sacrifice, a highly competitive, year-long professional development program sponsored by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC). During this program educators learn about America's involvement during World War II in the Mediterranean region. To drive home a deeper understanding of the personal sacrifice experienced at the front lines, each teacher will select one American service member who is buried or memorialized at an ABMC cemetery in southern Europe or north Africa. Participants then spend a year conducting in-depth research on the life of this fallen hero using both local and archival historical resources. Throughout the program, teachers attend lectures, study historical books about the conflict, and collaborate with staff at National History Day to begin forming ideas for lesson plans from their experience. The program pays for European travel, supplies, courses, and much more. Teachers are only responsible for travel to and from Washington, D.C., passport fees, and any personal expenses.
Mr. Brookter was selected because of his passion for exploration and discovery of history and his desire to show students more about the minorities that contributed to World War II. According to his application, he wants to "add to the rolls of America's brave warriors the names of minorities and women" to "add more layers to the humanity of man to discover and recite their stories." His own family history is deeply connected to the war. His late uncle, Elijah served in France and was strongly impacted by the war. He wants to use the experience with Understand sacrifice to gain a greater understanding and appreciation for the challenges service members such as his uncle faced both in France and back home. Then, he will use this experience to teach a new generation about struggles faced by Americans. As he wrote in his application, Mr. Brookter wants to "help to bring a voice to so many that remain voiceless in history." Raymond C. Brookter will have that opportunity to bring a voice to the voiceless when he travels to the cemeteries and memorials overseas for American service members who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War II.
Each participant presents a eulogy at the grave or memorial of a service member from their home state. Upon returning home, the teachers use their research and experience to create a lesson plan to reinvigorate World War II education in American classrooms. The created lesson plans will be made available to teachers worldwide through a website created by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.