Learning from the Past to Lead the Future Everyone has a story to tell. Many of our grandparents and great grandparents are sources of great tales of economic depression, prosperity and war. A group of history students at Ensworth recently uncovered the value of making sure the stories of what many call “the greatest generation” are heard.
When David Chanaca moved from his years of teaching at the middle school level to help start the high school he knew he wanted to empower his students to be historians, not just students of history. The perfect opportunity to turn history electives into an apprenticeship came in his World War II class. “I knew I could teach my students history, but I couldn’t teach them about war,” Chanaca said. “I am a secondary source that needed to step aside and let the people who have lived it share their stories.”
Mr. Chanaca used the high school service learning day as an opportunity for interested students to visit retirement homes and interview World War II vets. When they arrived at the fi rst home, they found former Marine Josh Wilder in full uniform with a table of memorabilia set up and ready to EXPERIENCING share. In that moment, the HISTORy students and Mr. Chanaca Will Dunn, Class knew these heroes had a of 2014, with Eck story and were ready to Muessig, honored share them. WWii Vet Students took on a leadership role, by researching, setting-up and creating a method for conducting the interviews. Will Dunn, Class of 2014 and president
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of the student body, and Mr. Chanaca traveled as far as Springfield, Virginia, one Fourth of July weekend to interview Eck Muessig, a WW II vet who fought in Guadalcanal as a machine gunner. Nine students also had an opportunity this summer to visit the WWII museum in New Orleans and celebrate the 70th Anniversary of D-Day. They are continuing to create new ways to find living WW II vets and to discover new ways to visit important WW II sites. The students created their own opportunity by determining the curriculum and developing the future of the course for the next participants. “When I describe Ensworth to my friends here at school, I always end up talking about the World War II class and how it was the perfect embodiment of what Ensworth was about as a school,” Neal Rice, Class of 2013. “I really found that element in experimental teaching where the teacher becomes irrelevant, the students see the value and take on the leadership of learning for themselves,” Chanaca said. Jasmine davis Assistant Director of Communications
Theme: Leadership. A biannual publication of Ensworth School in Nashville, TN.