A “King High Remembers” project launched at the California school in the 2000-2001 school year is starting to come full circle.
In March, hundreds of folks flooded into the Riverside school for the 18th annual event, where high school juniors dressed to impress as they interviewed military veterans, who brought along photos, medals and other memorabilia to share with the next generation, The Press-Enterprise.
The intent is to help connect history for students while preserving the memories of veterans to honor their service.
This year was the first year Sgt. Nick Cady shared his experiences from six deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan – a record of service inspired in part by his time interviewing veterans as a student at the first annual event.
Cady discussed the reality of fear during war zone firefights, and his motivations for persevering through seemingly impossible situations. “Not a single veteran or service member can say they’re not scared to die,” Cady told students. “But you become calloused and numbed to the fact that you’re going to get shot at and you may not live.”
Student Logan Diaz, 16, wanted to know what inspired Cady to press on as his fellow soldiers sacrificed their lives in battle.
“There’s a lot of evil in the world,” he said. “Attacks kept happening in the U.K. or stateside, or your friends got hit, and I wanted to do something.”
These concrete stories, personally embodied by these veterans, provides concrete instruction in the nature of the good. The Institute of Advanced Studies in Culture found, “The importance of modeling the good is especially important in the public schools because explicit moral teaching is (or is perceived to be) fraught with disagreement, controversy, or legal challenges” This approach cut through all these fears and obstacles.
King history teacher John Corona said he started the program 18 years ago to celebrate heroes in the community who deserve recognition, though many don’t court attention. Last month, nearly 300 people participated in multiple interview rooms. Since the program began, nearly 1,000 veterans have shared their stories.
Riverside Unified School District board president Patricia Lock-Dawson told participants in this year’s event that she hopes the interviews reignite a sense of service that was more common in past generations, The Press-Enterprise reports.
“Today, our students get to hear what actually goes into that phrase, ‘serving your country,’” she said. “We get a tangible glimpse into history through your experience, and we get to say ‘thank you for your service’ and really know what that means.”
Teachers and principals working to strengthen moral and citizenship formation in their students can find information and strategies at the UK’s Jubilee Centre. In the Jubilee Centre’s own words, the following paragraph illustrates how they view their work: “The Jubilee Centre is a pioneering interdisciplinary research centre on character, virtues and values in the interest of human flourishing. The Centre is a leading informant on policy and practice and through its extensive range of projects contributes to a renewal of character virtues in both individuals and societies.”