Maryland Humanities and Southern High School Signature Program Honor Maryland Vietnam Veterans, Vietnamese Immigrants, and Students Who Participated in Oral History Project
(Harwood, MD) –On Thursday, May 11, Maryland Humanities and Southern High School Signature Program celebrated the culmination of an oral history project in which fifty students conducted interviews with Maryland veterans of the Vietnam War and Vietnamese immigrants who experienced the war. The celebration at Southern High School on Thursday evening featured conversations with students and veterans, the screening of clips from the oral history interviews, and a ceremony recognizing the veterans.
Southern High School social studies teacher Jennifer Davidson’s 11th grade students have spent the past academic year immersed in the history of the Vietnam War. Through funding from Maryland Humanities, students have received training in oral history procedures and techniques from Dr. Barry Lanman, Director of the Martha Ross Center for Oral History at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Teams of students interviewed and filmed Vietnam veterans and Vietnamese immigrants, and the resulting films and transcripts will be housed in the collection of the Maryland State Archives. In addition, the program resources will be featured on EDSITEment, a national educational website of the National Endowment for the Humanities, to be used as a national model for teachers throughout the country for developing similar programs. Watch a video overview of the project, Maryland Veterans: A Journey through Vietnam, with testimonials from veterans, students, and the oral historian.
“Maryland Humanities is so proud to support this impactful project, which brings together students and veterans through a unique learning experience that truly brings history to life. The veterans and Vietnamese immigrants who participated have shared how meaningful it was to talk with the students and recount their stories of the Vietnam War—some for the first time ever. Thanks to the willingness and generosity of those interviewed and the hard work of educators at Southern High and their students, these personal histories will be preserved and accessible for future generations to learn from,” said Phoebe Stein, executive director of Maryland Humanities.
Principal of Southern High Kathryn Feuerherd said: “This Signature Program oral history project is a great example of how real-world connections leave lasting impressions on our students. Relevant connections like Ms. Davidson’s Maryland Veterans: A Journey through Vietnam are what Southern strives for. Through our Signature theme of Design: Preservation & Innovation, our staff work to bring educators together with local businesses and community leaders to make classroom instruction relevant, interesting and challenging for students. Our partnership with Maryland Humanities and University of Maryland, Baltimore County is a prime example of how our students can benefit.”
Southern High School junior Mary Anastasi spoke about a Vietnam Veteran she interviewed: “He explained his experiences in ways that brought the Vietnam War to life. I learned so much through our interview; I don’t think I would’ve ever experienced this with any other project. No matter how much you read about an event, you never truly appreciate it unless you get a chance to speak to someone who was there; this is something I will never forget.”
More information about the Veterans Oral History Project can be found at https://www.mdhumanities.org/programs/veterans-programs/.
About Maryland Humanities
Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational nonprofit organization that creates and supports educational experiences in the humanities that inspire all Marylanders to embrace lifelong learning, exchange ideas openly, and enrich their communities. Maryland Humanities is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the State of Maryland, private foundations, corporations, small businesses, and individual donors.
About Southern High Signature Program
Design: Preservation & Innovation Signature Program is a school wide theme based program that is designed to connect classroom instruction to real-world situations and workforce-relevant skills. Southern High students, through exposure to the Signature theme become design-thinkers with vital workforce skills such as, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. They assess needs, apply global awareness and learning, design new ways of doing and develop new products appropriate to evolving needs.