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Ohio’s Veterans: Our True American Heroes

School: Graham Elementary and Middle School (GEMS)

City/State: Columbus, OH

Grade(s): 8

Format(s): Book

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Social Studies

Project Overview: 

  • What makes someone a hero?
  • How have wars changed our world?
  • How can a personal story impact the world?

Students analyzed the archetype of a hero. They focused on heroes in history who have changed the world around us. Students then identified local heroes while working with The Ohio Department of Veterans Services. They interviewed their Veteran hero for a narrative story of that hero’s life. The narratives were compiled into a professional book. 

Process: Students read novels related to war (i.e. Code Talkers, Flygirl, Sunrise Over Fallujah, Fallen Angels) as well as primary source documents related to WWII. Students interviewed Ohio Veterans being inducted into the Ohio Veteran Hall of Fame about their early life, what caused them to join the military, and how they have impacted their community by giving back after their service. The students were honored by being invited to the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Enshrinement ceremony, and even more honored to interview their heroes and write their stories.

How This Project Can Be Useful: 

  • Exemplifies the use of outside experts and first-person accounts to create a lasting memorial to members of the community
  • Models a simple but effective and attractive layout that could be used for similar projects at different grade levels
  • An excellent model of an intergenerational project that is meaningful to all involved
  • Enlivens history and real-world events for students and is a project that has a true impact
  • Could be replicated in almost any community and at different grade levels
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