Students to Capture American History on Film Through Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership's Of the Student, By the Student, For the Student Program

The nationally award-winning Of the Student, By the Student, For the Student® service-learning project engages middle-school students in interpreting the history within their own backyards. The students use primary source documents, humanities scholarship, music, dramatic readings, role-playing and digital technology to create vodcasts or mini-movies for the National Park Service.

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Gettysburg Area Middle School students participate in an "inside the filmmakers studio" panel after the screening of the six Of the Student, By the Student, For the Student vodcasts.

(PRWEB) February 11, 2014

Over 350 middle school students affiliated with Orange County Public Schools are taking a different approach to learn about the history that took place right in their own community. They are currently participating in the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership’s nationally award-winning Of the Student, By the Student, For the Student® service-learning project. This groundbreaking initiative engages middle-school students in interpreting the history within their own backyards. The students use primary source documents, humanities scholarship, music, dramatic readings, role-playing and digital technology to create vodcasts or mini-movies for the National Park Service. From beginning to end, the students serve as scriptwriters, actors, directors, choreographers, set designers, costume creators, videographers, and film editors to gain a deeper connection with our shared American heritage.

On Citizenship Day, September 17, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership kicked off the program with an assembly at Prospect Heights and Locust Grove middle schools, providing an opportunity to introduce the project to the entire seventh grade student body at both schools. Living historians were on hand to re-interpret General Lee’s and Grant's opinions of each other after their first meeting on the battlefield (Battle of The Wilderness).

On October 15-16, 2013, the 370 students traveled to James Madison’s Montpelier for Immersion Day, where they worked with historians, re-enactors, content experts, and Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership educators to learn numerous aspects of the war, including life as a soldier, leadership, transportation, the African American experience, and technology to lay the basis of their movie topics.

For the next month, the students then researched, wrote, and developed their movie concepts to pitch to a panel of judges. Ultimately, six vodcasts were chosen to be filmed, on topics such as the Union experience, the constitutionality of secession, U.S. Colored Troops, the homefront, the environmental impact of the war, and technology of the day.

The spirit of the project is captured during filming days, when the students gather at their previously scouted filming locations at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park and other appropriate locations. Park rangers are also on hand to ensure historical accuracy and assist the students as necessary. In three days, February 12-14, the majority of the filming for all six vodcasts will take place.

Once the filming is complete, the students will then work to edit their creations and put the finishing touches on their product, before the films are premiered in May 2014 as part of the Sesquicentennial of the Battle of The Wildnerness and at the JTHG Partnership’s annual conference. The films will become official interpretative material for the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.

Thousands of students across four states have already taken part in the Of the Student, By the Student, For the Student® program has engaged students at Gettysburg Area Middle School in Pennsylvania; E. Russell Hicks and Springfield Middle Schools in Maryland; Stonewall Middle School, Smart's Mill Middle School, and Sutherland Middle School in Virginia; as well as Harpers Ferry Middle School in West Virginia. The resulting mini-movies have become part of the official interpretative material for the National Park Service, including Manassas National Battlefield Park, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Gettysburg National Military Park, Antietam National Battlefield and C & O Canal National Historical Park. In addition the JTHG Partnership has brought the program to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, VA and Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park in Leesburg, VA.

Of the Student, By the Student, For the Student has been recognized by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, won the 2010 WOW Award from the American Association for State and Local History, and received the 2009 Freeman Tilden Award, in recognition of “outstanding contributions to interpretation or education at a National Park”. The award is designed to recognize interpreters that develop, revitalize or deliver an innovative, pioneering or otherwise worthy interpretive or educational program.

This project has been made possible with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, History, the National Park Service, Learn and Serve America, the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation, the Rust Family Foundation and the National Parks Foundation. The vodcasts can be seen at the National Park sites as well as YouTube, SchoolTube, teachinghistory.org, Comcast on Demand, and other places. For more information about the Of the Student, By the Student, For the Student® project, or the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership, visit http://www.HallowedGround.org/education.


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    The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership
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