WATERFORD, VA -- The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership has assembled a roster of top-flight partners to bring their nationally award-winning Of the Student, By the Student, For the Student™ service-learning program to middle-school students in Prince William County, Virginia, providing the students a once-in-a-lifetime chance to play a crucial role in a national historic commemoration.
The National Endowment for Humanities, Virginia Department of Education in partnership with Learn and Serve America, Richard S. Reynolds Foundation, Manassas National Battlefield Park, Prince William County Board of Supervisors, Prince William County Schools and the Prince Williams/Manassas Convention and Visitors Bureau are working together to bring the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership’s ground-breaking educational program to students from Stonewall Middle School to create historical mini-movies for official use by the National Park Service.
From beginning to end, 400 students from Stonewall Middle School will create, produce, and direct the mini-movies or Vodcasts, offering their interpretations of the battle of First Manassas (Bull Run), Second Manassas, and the 1911 Peace Jubilee. The Vodcasts will become part of the official interpretive materials at Manassas National Battlefield Park and Prince William County’s Sesquicentennial Commemorations of the American Civil War, where President Obama has been invited, and will be available to educators, students and visitors worldwide through the YouTube, www.Facebook.com/VisitTheJourney, and www.HallowedGround.org among others.
On October 20, the Stonewall 6th graders will begin their movie-making journey with an educational immersion into the historic events that shaped this nation. At Manassas National Battlefield Park, they will work with national park rangers, historians, and JTHG Partnership educators to learn about life as a soldier and the role of drummer boys in battle; technology of the 1860s, including weaponry, transportation and communication; the African-American perspective—both free and enslaved; life on the home front, in particular the experience of girls and women; the role of immigrants in the war; 19th century medicine;; Stonewall Jackson as a husband, father and son; and the 1911 Peace Jubilee which brought veterans together to mark the 50th anniversary of the battle. The students will use this information to choose storylines for their Vodcasts. In the coming months, they will write their scripts and serve as editors, actors, photographers, choreographers, set designers, videographers, and even public relations representatives to produce and promote the mini-documentaries, which will be unveiled during the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership’s annual conference in May 2011 and will be featured during the official sesquicentennial of the American Civil War commemoration in July 2011.
“We are enormously grateful to the all our partners for recognizing the value of connecting middle-school students with this critically important American history -- history that has profoundly affected the cultural fabric and the ideals of this great nation and countries worldwide for 150 years now,” said Cate Magennis Wyatt president of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.
“This program bonds young people to the past in a way that enables them to walk in the footsteps of countrymen and women gone by, to understand past events, and to appreciate the critical choices others made, so that they can become effective leaders for tomorrow.”
Created and produced by the JTHG Partnership, the Of the Student, By the Student, For the Student™ programhas received commitment for the necessary matching grants and assistance to work with the students from Stonewall Middle School to engage them in important local history with national significance to create student-generated, interpretative Vodcasts on storylines they find most interesting related to the pivotal battles of Manassas, the lives of African Americans during that time, and the 1911 Peace Jubilee of the American Civil War.
"Today's young people are connected to a high-tech media world," said Corey Stewart, Prince William Board of Supervisors Chairman. "The JTHG Partnership is providing an exceptional opportunity for these students to connect the past that surrounds them to the present, to become engaged with critically important times in the nation's history and in local history, and to tell those stories with their own voices in their media."
The Virginia Department of Education is administering local grant funds through the federal Learn and Serve America program, which funds K-12 programs in all states through three-year grants to enable local schools to integrate community service with educational content areas. In addition, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, Prince William County Schools, the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation and Manassas National Battlefield Park will provide additional necessary funds and assistance to support a larger matching grant awarded to the JTHG Partnership by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
"This partnership provides an opportunity for Stonewall Middle School students to take information and skills learned in the classroom and demonstrate that knowledge to a broader audience within their community," said Marilyn B. Weyer-Elder, mathematics and science grants specialist for the Virginia Department of Education. "Nearly every subject -- including English, math, science, social studies, drama, chorus and band -- at the school will be involved in this project."
Ken Bassett, Supervisor of History and Social Science for Prince William County Schools continued, “This partnership provides students with the opportunity to do the work of historians and transmit what they learn using the tools and resources they prefer to use when they learn. The blending of academic disciplines and life skills is a real strength of this program. Our partnership with the JTHG and all of its partners helps young people value the history and culture of our region and will pay dividends for everyone involved for generations to come.”
“This project will transform the students’ understanding of the pivotal events and individual sacrifices surrounding battles at Manassas, the Peace Jubilee, and their subsequent roles in our American history,” said Ed Clark, Superintendent of Manassas National Battlefield Park. “As we approach the sesquicentennial of the start of the Civil War and of the First Battle of Manassas in 2011, this project will directly connect them to our historic resources and to our nation's history as never before. Working with the JTHG Partnership, using this innovative approach to bring history to life for young people, is simply a special opportunity not to be missed.”
At the unveiling of the Of the Student, By the Student, For the Student™ pilot program in partnership with Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and 70 Harpers Ferry Middle School students in June 2009, Robert G. Stanton, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget, Department of the Interior and the Director of the Office of Youth said,
“On behalf of the Secretary of Interior, the Honorable Ken Salazar, and certainly President Obama, you and your many partners exemplify the spirit of serve America. You exemplify what Dr. King would remind us is the most urgent question that we face collectively and individually: ‘What are you; What am I; What are we doing for others?’ That is the most urgent question of all. And what you are giving of yourselves towards this noble call of preservation serves as a hallmark, which I will share without any embarrassment beyond the state of West Virginia, beyond the state of Virginia, beyond the state of Maryland, beyond Washington DC, that if they want to see an example; that if they want to see a model of citizen engagement, a commitment to our youth, they only have to come to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.”
Since then, the JTHG Partnership’s service-learning program has been honored with a variety of awards including those from the American Association for State and Local History and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, an independent federal agency that advises the President and Congress on national historic preservation policy. In March 2010 and with help from the Arundel Foundation, the Of the Student, By the Student, For the Student™ programmoved into the land of Jefferson. This time, Monticello and 180 Sutherland Middle School students teamed with JTHG Partnership to produce Vodcasts that focus on the genius of Jefferson, which were unveiled at the JTHG Partnership annual conference in Charlottesville June 22-23, 2010.
Learn and Serve America supports and encourages service learning throughout the United States, and enables over one million students to make meaningful contributions to their community while building their academic and civic skills. By engaging our nation’s young people in service-learning, Learn and Serve America instills an ethic of lifelong community service.
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities.
Educating teachers, students, citizens and visitors is one of the primary objectives of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership. Since its inception in 2006,this non-profit, four-state, public-private partnership has developed a variety of educational programs, including the award-winningExtreme Journey summers camp,a high-school Summer Enrichment Camp with the University of Virginia, programs for Loudoun County Applied History classes, a semester-long teacher certificate course taught through the Virginia Community College System, teacher workshops, and semester courses for graduate students at the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech.
The JTHG Partnership is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the unparalleled history within the swath of land from Monticello to Gettysburg and has successfully created the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area and has had the Old Carolina Road (Rt. 15/20/231) from Gettysburg, through Maryland, to Monticello designated a National Scenic Byway.