As we get deeper and deeper into the semester, there’s really something you should know about us.
When we talk about Research History, we’re not talking about a normal class that meets at the same time every day. (Come on, you should know by now that there’s really nothing normal about Research History.) The truth is, we’re actually spread out over multiple periods throughout the day.
For me, sixth period is Research History, and I fondly remember my first day because it’s when I discovered that I would be a class of one. Seriously. All of my classmates who you’ve met here on our blog are all signed up for different periods, so I literally have the classroom to myself. To say the least, it was an environment that I wasn’t used to; most classes have more than one student, allowing you to ride the coattails of those around you (not that I would ever do anything like that, of course). And though I have lots of room to spread out, I wasn’t sure if flying solo was going to be a good thing in the long run.
I started the semester out by listening to a transcript of one of the first Vietnam veterans who we interviewed for the Veterans History Project. It was during this first project that I quickly realized what makes Research History tick. The first-hand accounts of history are so rich and interesting that it makes us students really enjoy what we're doing and learning about.
I have to say, no textbook has ever caught my attention like the stories of the men and women who served our country on foreign soil. The transcribing that I’ve done so far has taught me more about Vietnam than I ever thought I’d know. The raw emotion of the soldiers, the logistics of some of the campaigns, all the names and places…things that would require pages and pages of reading to pick up on, I got in an hour of listening to a cassette tape. It’s pretty mind blowing when you stop and think about it.
For my second project of the semester, I was paired up with Shannon (a classmate from a different period). We were tasked with writing an article on the Good Hope Quilt, which was auctioned off after being made by the women of Good Hope during the final years of World War I. Ultimately purchased by a Civil War veteran, the quilt was signed by 180 people in our area. Just a few days ago, I completed the article, which includes quotes from the oral history of one of the family members of the original purchaser of the quilt.
At the end of the day though, one of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned in sixth period is how to stay organized and manage my time. (You kind of have to when all eyes are on you!) From being in a class of 25 to a class of just one, I’ve really realized (and started to better appreciate) my ability to hold my own.
Good luck finding that in any textbook.
- Dennis A.
Dennis A. is a senior at Washington High School in Washington Court House, Ohio. This semester, he’ll be working with his Research History classmates to document and preserve Good Hope Cemetery. Stay tuned as they share their experiences here on our blog and on their Flickr photostream.