Students research veterans buried at local cemetery

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TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Local high schoolers are looking beyond the pages of a history book to learn about World War I and II.

It’s an unlikely classroom where 10th graders from Albany took a field trip here to the historic Oakwood Cemetery in Troy to learn about the heroes buried here.

It’s final presentation day and Tech Valley High Schoolers are showing their projects to some important guests.

The students found the gravestone of a WWI or WWII veteran and delved into his life.

“You think about it from a big perspective but it’s really kind of an individual experience,” Fiona Haggerty, a 10th grader, said.

One a marine veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan has lived through.

“Putting a face to history is always the hardest part,” Marine Veteran Benjamin Colin said. “I mean look at me I’m 30 years old and my names not in a history book but I’m a part of history.”

Social Studies teacher Jenney Ezzo says connecting real people to history is the goal.

“The wars are so much more meaningful to our students when they have a personal connection when someone from their local area actually went to the places that we’re studying.”

After hours of research using tools like ancestry.com and Fold3, these students forming a bond with someone who came long before.

Learning about real people who were a part of history and giving them a greater appreciation of those who put their lives on the line.

“You’re really going in depth into the person’s life whereas in the history book you’re only going over the facts of what people would say what happened,” Purevsuren Batdorj, a 10th grader, said.

It’s an exercise this proud teacher hopes will catch on in schools everywhere.

“Find ways for them to be passionate, find ways to make it local and interesting. They really love it,” Ezzo said.

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