History / Social Science
In 2013, Morgan Owen (then a Serrano student) and Mrs. Andersen took part in a nationwide contest through National History Day, called the Normandy Institute, Sacrifice for Freedom. Every year NHD chooses 15 student-teacher teams to partake in the annual institute, where the teams immerse themselves in WWII history, partake in online forums - spanning a sixth month period and begin research on a silent hero that paid the ultimate sacrifice during the war. Each team chooses a soldier from their homestate to honor. Check out our 2012 winner on the Impressive student projects page.
The institute culminates in a two-week interactive experience in Washington, D.C. and Normandy, France. In D.C., the teams learn from the experts, attending lectures, visiting museums and continue scholarly research on their homestate hero. While in Normandy, they saw many of the many battle sites that we had spent many months learning about. Through the experience, students and teachers walked in the footsteps of their fallen heroes and gave a eulogy graveside at the Normandy American Cemetery.
Upon returning, the student-teacher teams built a memorial profile honoring their silent hero.
Since returning in 2013, Mrs. Andersen has made the Silent Heroes Project an annual research project for all of her 11th grade students. As the years have passed, she has continued her work with NHD, in building curriculum for a classroom version of the Normandy Institute, while also having her students piloting and troubleshooting the NHD submission process. She currently stands on the Silent Heroes Teacher Advisory Board, as the classroom project is launched nationwide in 2018. NHD has changed the format for honoring the Silent Heroes, from websites to profiles. Due to this transition, she has had over 80 completed websites that will eventually be converted with the help of her Teacher's Assistants. As of right now, there are 14 Silent Heroes profiles that have been converted and completed by Serrano students from 2013 to present. The following websites showcase the completed 14 that have been formally published by NHD, in addition to her personal website that stores all of the websites throughout the years.
If any former student would like to convert their website to a profile, please contact Ms. Andersen. She still has all login information for former students to access their websites in order to make the conversion. Otherwise, co-authoring rights will be given to my current T.A.s and history students who help her update or edit the profiles.
Every year, a new set of student-teacher teams are chosen. Will you be the next Serrano student partake in this life-changing experience? Find a teacher that you would like to share the experience with you! Applications are due each November!