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How to Participate » Especially for Educators & Students

Especially for Educators & Students

Students and youth groups throughout the United States have contributed significantly to the Veterans History Project. While we encourage participation of students 10th grade and above we cannot accept individual classrooms as partners. Indicating your school on the required forms with interviews submissions will ensure the school receives credit in the database.

Webcast of guidelines featuring Veterans History Project director and staff can be found at the Radio & Television News Directors Foundation.

Contents: Guidelines | Sample Materials | Keep a Copy
Resources for Younger Students | Selected VHP Partner Web Sites

Guidelines for Students/Youth Participation

Based on our experience with young adult volunteers, we share these observations:

  • Appropriate grade levels: grades 10-12 and higher. Lower grades require significantly more guidance and supervision.
  • We want oral histories that tell more than the dates and places of service: wartime veterans and civilians have extensive stories to share.
  • We also accept original letters, diaries and photographs with the recorded interview.
  • Familiarize students with interviewing:
    • Study and report on our Experiencing War web site
    • Work with the school librarian or media specialist
    • Practice interviewing
    • Assign readings and view videos such as Saving Private Ryan or We Were Soldiers to provoke group discussion
    • Background resources are suggested on this page.
  • Interviews should be at least 30 minutes long.
  • Help your students or members structure their interviews:
    • Background and entry into the service
    • Training
    • Wartime service and experiences
    • End of service and life afterwards
    • A sample interview from a youth participant is available online.
  • Adapt our sample questions and ask others as the interview unfolds. Do not interrupt or rush through questions.
  • If transcribing an interview, check the spelling of unfamiliar terms and place names. A sample interview transcript from a youth participant is available online.
  • Teachers should review the quality of each submission prior to shipping to the Library of Congress.
  • All forms must be fully completed including the Biographical Data Form and Audio and Video Recording Log Form. Samples of Audio and Video Recording Logs from youth participants are available online.
  • The Interviewer Release Form must be signed by a parent or guardian if the interviewer is under 18.

Sample Materials from School/Youth Organizations

  • Sample Interview (requires the free RealPlayer)
    This 41-minute interview with Vietnam Veteran Thomas Hodge was conducted by students from Cathedral High School and Lyman Memorial High School in Massachusetts. Note how the student interviewer gave the veteran time to answer questions fully, and asked follow-up questions to help the story develop. The accompanying A/V Log form for this interview is also available online.
  • Sample Audio/Video Recording Logs (requires the free Acrobat Reader)
    These log forms accompany interviews conducted by students at James Madison High School in Virginia with veterans Bernard Edelman and Lewis Robeson. Note how both logs cover what the veterans speak about, not just the questions asked.
  • Sample Transcript (requires the free Acrobat Reader)
    This interview transcript was created by a 9th grade student from John F. Kennedy High School after her interview with veteran Carmel Arcilesi. It is a complete transcript of the entire interview. Additionally, note that it is easy to tell who is speaking, and spelling/contextual errors are minimal.

Background Resources

The following selected books and web sites present information about military history for audiences ranging from middle through high school. Students may use this list as a starting point to learn about the topics a veteran might discuss.

Contents: World War I - World War II - Korean War - Vietnam War - Persian Gulf War

More in depth: bibliographies and resources

World War I

Web resources: Books:
  • Coetzee, Frans, et al. World War I: A History in Documents. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
  • George, Linda S. World War I. Tarrytown, NY: Benchmark Books, 2001.
  • Steward, Gail B. World War I. Farmington Hills, Michigan: Gale Group, 1991.
  • Zeinert, Karen. Those Extraordinary Women of World War I. Brooklyn, NY, Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 2001.

World War II

Web resources: Books:
  • Colman, Penny. Rosie the Riveter: Women Working on the Home Front in World War II. New York: Random House Children's Books, 1995.
  • Dolan, Edward F. America in World War II. Brooklyn, NY, Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press. (Note: There are five books in this series, one for each year from 1941 through 1945).
  • Hipperson, Carol. The Belly Gunner. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, Inc., 2001.
  • Kuhn, Betsy. Angels of Mercy: The Army Nurses of World War II. New York: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 1999.
  • Langellier, J. Phillip. The War in Europe: From the Kasserine Pass to Berlin, 1942-1945. Broomall, PA: Chelsea House Publishers, 1999.
  • Rice, Earle, Jr. The Bombing of Pearl Harbor. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group, 2000.
  • Stein, R. Conrad. World War II in the Pacific: "Remember Pearl Harbor." Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 2000.

Korean War

Web resources: Books:
  • Benson, Sonia. Korean War: Almanac and Primary Sources. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group, 2001.
  • Stein, R. Conrad. The Korean War: "The Forgotten War." Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 1994.

Vietnam War

Web resources: Books:
  • Denenberg, Barry. Voices from Vietnam. New York: Scholastic, Inc., 1997.
  • Dowswell, Paul. The Vietnam War. Milwaukee, WI: Gareth Stevens, Inc., 2002.
  • Kent, Deborah. The Vietnam War: "What Are We Fighting For?" Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 2000.
  • Young, Marilyn Blatt and A. Tom Grunfeld. The Vietnam War: A History in Documents. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Persian Gulf War

Web resources: Books:
  • Gay, Kathlyn. The Persian Gulf War. Brooklyn, NY, Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, Inc., 1997.
  • Kent, Zachary. The Persian Gulf War: "The Mother of All Battles." Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 2000.
  • Schwartz, Richard A. Encyclopedia of the Persian Gulf War. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., Inc., Publishers, 1998.
  • Strait, Sandy. What Was It Like in Desert Storm?: Honest Answers from Those Who Were There. New York: Royal Fireworks Press, 1998.

Selected Youth Participant Web Sites

Some classroom and youth organizations choose to create web sites showcasing the work they've done with the Veterans History Project. These are selected examples:


How to Participate » Especially for Students

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  November 9, 2007
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