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Workshop teaches students about World War II

POSTED: November 28, 2007 5:05 a.m.
Ten Gainesville youth took a step back in time on Friday as they learned what life was like during World War II.

"It would be pretty scary and tough" to be a kid growing up in the midst of a war, said 11-year-old Jordan Banks, a student at Davis Middle School.

Banks and nine other students from third to sixth grade attended a workshop at the Northeast Georgia History Center called "Homefront Holidays."

In addition to learning about victory gardens, rationing and other aspects of family life during the war, they made Christmas decorations typical of that time and even got to compose their own "V-mail."

V-mail was a system used for delivering mail during World War II. Large amounts of mail were photographed onto reels of microfilm, which were then sent to their destination for developing at a receiving station near the letter’s recipient.

Writing a letter just as people did in the 1940s "was pretty fun," 9-year-old Sophia Casey said.

Casey, a student at Centennial Arts Academy, also learned "more about the Pearl Harbor attack and what kind of music they listened to."

Glen Kyle, managing director of the history center, said even though the museum’s World War II exhibit was closing, he still wanted to use it as an opportunity to teach children what life would have been like for them if they were alive during that time.

"I think our society today ... can look back on it and know we won," Kyle said of the war. "But in the days of 1942 and 1943 it looked very dark."

Kyle said the group responded well to the workshop, asked questions and surprised him with their insights and observations.

Eight-year-old Jacob Parrish, also a Centennial student, said he learned a lot, such as how the Navy loads their guns and "that kids had to eat everything on their plate."

"When their moms were gone they had to pick up the mail and do laundry," he said.

Banks said he learned "about the guns they carried and about how they rationed stuff."

Kyle said in the future he would like to do more workshops and programs similar to Friday’s.

He said it’s important to continue educating youth about the past, so that they can take what they learn and carry it with them into the future.

"They are the physical manifestation of this museum’s mission," he said.



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