The Herald Bulletin

December 10, 2013

Editorial: Lapel class gives new meaning to history lessons

The Herald Bulletin

---- — Assignments in any classroom can be a rewarding experience particularly if those lessons carry forward with students. Simple or complex tasks can often lead to lifelong learning.

That’s the case in U.S. history teacher Dorinda Cassiday’s class at Lapel High School. She is teaching the value of American history by using the lives of military veterans. Each day, she clips an obituary from local newspapers. Those obituaries are a short synopses of the lives of local veterans.

In the classroom, the students take a moment to reflect on those lives. Then the obituary is stapled to the classroom wall.

The learning exercise is a symbol that the lives will not go unnoticed. In that sense, these veterans are still teaching American history to teenagers.

In early November, the students read of the life of Fred Fey, an Anderson man who earned a Purple Heart while serving with the 245th Tank Battalion of the 45th Infantry Division. He died Nov. 1 after a yearlong illness.

As is the custom, the class sent a note to Fey’s survivors telling them of their daily observance. Fey’s family was touched. They thought the mail service was delivering some of Fey’s medicines. Instead, the package included a celebration of his life.

More importantly, Cassiday’s classroom has developed a way to bridge the generations. Teenagers learn about older, often unsung, heroes. When they send letters of recognition, they learn of the veteran’s own family.

Dorinda’s Cassiday’s lessons are based on reminding youth about the U.S. but she’s presenting them in a fashion where teens can begin identifying with the human faces of history. The military veterans are still teaching, even after they’ve passed on.

In summary Dorinda Cassiday's history class at Lapel High School has found a way to bridge the generations.