”Honor the Past; Deserve the Present“

About Us

Our Team of Researchers

2008-2009
  • Stephanie Ball
  • Toby Elder
  • Horacio Lopez-Segura
  • Mike McKee
  • Sarah McMaster
  • Webster Rasmussen
  • Campbell Smith
  • Chris Stanton
  • Alec Wittschiebe
  • Rachel White
2009-2010
  • Andrew Abdalla
  • Charles Bertoli
  • Ryan Brown
  • Gabe Carlin
  • Faith Cramer
  • Toby Elder
  • Grace Hendricks
  • Lucas Immer
  • Forrest Minter
  • Helena Pennington
  • Harrison Reilly
  • Valentina Sainato
  • Elena Sakopoulos
  • Alec Wittschiebe
2010-2011
  • Mitchell Aiken
  • Katie Artigas
  • Gabe Carlin
  • Faith Cramer
  • Jaime Echeverria
  • Violet Elder
  • Marat Ford
  • Daniel Gonzalez
  • Georgia McClain
  • Forrest Minter
  • Austin Ogle
  • Max Parriott
  • Christopher Rusiewicz
  • Valentina Sainato
  • Paul Sargent
2011-2012
  • Mitchell Aiken
  • Cori Calabi
  • Dana Cronin
  • Joseph Davis
  • Chip Decker
  • Kyle DeLima
  • Violet Elder
  • Daniel Gonzalez
  • Jose Hernandez
  • Randall McKay
  • Skylar Nelson
  • Max Parriott
  • Anthony Pilotti
  • Valentina Sainato
2012-2013
  • Mitchell Aiken
  • Dustin Briggs
  • Cori Calabi
  • Gus Conwell
  • Dana Cronin
  • Litto Damonte
  • Lucas Dohring
  • Violet Elder
  • Jena Galasso
  • Sarah Gamble
  • Clair Griffin
  • Timothy Krausz
  • Arilyn Martin
  • Randall McKay
  • Haley Raymond
  • Elizabeth Sklar

Research

[Image Courtesy of
Library of Congress]

Student-Teacher Collaboration Process

All projects and research assignments reflect the interests and strengths of the students. Website design and management, video production and film editing, original music composition, photograph restoration, visual art, poetry, historical research and writing, and biographical research are among the projects and assignments in which students are engaged.

Once the student and teacher determine the scope of the investigation, the student begins the collection of information necessary to address initial questions that both the student and teacher agree are essential to the task.

In the case of our "Topic Summaries," the goal is to produce an expository piece that synthesizes information from a wide variety of primary and secondary sources and summarizes a given topic in the context of surrounding events.

Biographical treatments in our "Untold Stories" follow our outline form template, each biographical treatment incorporating to the extent possible the biographical subject's first-hand descriptions and comments about the events in which he or she took part.

Completion of a "Topic Summary" or "Untold Story" is the product of student-teacher collaboration, including teacher monitoring of the student's progress and the writing and rewriting of student drafts, with the teacher being responsible for the final editing and approval for publication on the website. The student contributor's name accompanies each "Topic Summary" and "Untold Story."


[Image Courtesy of
Library of Congress]

Untold Stories

Because one of our goals is to remember and honor those Americans who served in WWI, we feel privileged to share the biographies we have written. The stories of these WWI veterans, up to now, have never been told. You will find these biographies in "Untold Stories."

[Photograph Courtesy of
US Army Center of Military History]

Quotations

From these "Untold Stories" we are sharing some of our favorite eye-witness accounts, never before published, in "Quotations.


[Image Courtesy of
Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music,
Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University]

Topic Summaries

Our accounts of various World War I-era topics are accessible in "Topic Summaries."


At Versailles, L-R: British Prime Minister David Lloyd George,
Italian Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando, French Premier
Georges Clemenceau, and President Woodrow Wilson

[Photograph Courtesy of National Archives]

Interviews

On November 8, 2008, our students conducted a filmed interview of Mr. Frank Buckles, the last surviving American veteran of WWI. That interview is accessible online at the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.

In May 2010 students in the class conducted a filmed interview of a nephew of a WWI doughboy. That filmed interview begins an ongoing oral history project in which we interview nieces and nephews and sons and daughters of American WWI veterans in order to preserve their memories of what they learned about the war from their mothers and fathers and aunts and uncles who had served in what was then called the Great War.

Our filmed interviews will be accessible in "Interviews". Transcriptions of these interviews will be available for historical research purposes through our WWI Research Institute Museum.


Treaty of Versailles, Hall of Mirrors

[Photo Courtesy of National Archives]

Museum

An on-going project is cataloging, photographing, and preparing for public display donated materials. The St. Helena High School WWI Research Institute Museum is located in the high school's library. Photographs of some of the materials are viewable in "Our Museum"


American and French Photographers

[Photo Courtesy of
Harry S. Truman Library & Museum]

WWI Documentary

Our research projects, including our filmed interviews, make possible perhaps our most ambitious project—producing a documentary on WWI.


[Image Courtesy of
US Army Center for Military History]

Posters

A selection of patriotic posters from the World War I-era are viewable in “Posters


Our Emblem

Poppy and Fleur-de-Lis

A poppy, a “Flanders Poppy,” is paired with our school's symbol, the fleur-de-lis.

During the spring seasons of WWI, vast amounts of red poppies—arguably unprecedented amounts of red poppies—appeared along the Western Front in northern France and Belgium, perhaps because artillery fire, which so violently tortured the landscape, had brought to the surface additional poppy seeds, which otherwise would have remained buried and dormant. In the spring of 1915, the Canadian doctor Maj. John McCrae immortalized the red poppy in a poem he was moved to write on the day following the death of a friend, Lt. Alexis Helmer, in a battle near Ypres, in a Belgian region called Flanders. That poem, "In Flanders Fields," was first published in the British magazine Punch on December 8, 1915, becoming instantly popular and remaining to this day one of the most enduring poems of the war. On January 28, 1918, McCrae—by then Lt. Col. John McCrae—died of pneumonia and meningitis in Boulogne, France. He was buried at Wimereux Cemetery, about three miles from Boulogne. In the United States and elsewhere the red poppy, sometimes called the Flanders Poppy, quickly became a symbol of remembrance, still used by, for example, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Motto

In the WWII movie “Saving Private Ryan” (1998) U. S. Captain John Miller (played by Tom Hanks) is among the Allied soldiers who, on D-Day, land on the beaches of Normandy to begin the liberation of Nazi-occupied France. His responsibilities soon change when he is put in command of seven men for a unique rescue mission. Miller and his men must find, remove from combat, and return to the United States a Private James Francis Ryan, who does not know that all three of his brothers have been killed in action during the war. In a heroic rescue operation, which follows the loss of many lives, Captain Miller, mortally wounded, utters his last words to Private Ryan, “James, earn this. Earn it.” A half-century later, when an aged James Ryan returned to France to visit the grave of Captain Miller, he wondered at long last if his life had been worthy of the sacrifice made by Miller and all those who had perished in that long-ago war.

Both Captain Miller's last words and the haunting self-doubts of the aged James Ryan influenced us in the WWI class as we endeavored to develop a motto that would reflect how we feel about the sacrifice of the Americans who served in WWI and our own sense of responsibility. The words that came to us, which appear on a banner in Latin, are “Honor the Past; Deserve the Present.”

Part of Bat. D, 105th FA, Armistice Celebration

[Photo Courtesy of National Archives]

Acknowledgements

All of our projects have been made possible by the generous support of the St. Helena Unified School District, the St. Helena Public Schools Foundation, and the St. Helena High School Parent Group.


Website designed and maintained by students Mitchell Aiken and Lucas Dohring