Students Interview & Learn from Local Veterans

Students in Teacher Leticia Harshman’s 10th grade English classroom had an opportunity to interview veterans as part of a writing project.

On May 27, some of the speakers who had a chance to speak included Chief Charles Mickey, who is a retired Naval officer, and Major Mike Morrison, a Pine-Richland Air Force JROTC instructor. Chief Mickey joined the Navy in 1963 and served for 27 years. He earned the Purple Heart in 1967 after a mine detonated under a ship in which he was traveling on to Vietnam. Morrison served in the Air Force for 20 years after enlisting in 1984.

The students asked the veterans about their background and memorial moments during their service.

Prior to the session, students read “This Boy's Life” by Tobias Wolff, a Vietnam veteran and  prepared questions to ask the veterans. The end goal of the project was to listen, take notes and put together the memoir about one of the veterans who presented.

“I am challenging my students to take on the persona of a ‘ghost-writer:’ someone commissioned to write about someone’s life by interviewing theme,” said Mrs. Harshman.

Students asked many thoughtful questions that included questions about the most memorable moments of being in the military, would they serve again and what was the most difficult part about serving.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our veterans to talk openly about what they experienced,” said Mrs. Harshman. “It’s way to pay tribute to our country.”

After their writing assignment is complete, the students will share their stories with the veterans.

Mrs. Harshman said she hopes that the students will discover writing a memoir requires vivid imagery, detail and descriptions of pivotal moments.

Other veterans who visited included: Teacher Ben Rings, Teacher Don Williams, AFJROTC Instructor Michael Gasparetto and Community Member Virginia Rye.