While I cannot remember the first time I became aware of World War II as a child, I cannot really remember a time when I was not aware of it. During World War II, both of my parents were born, my grandfather served as a block captain, and several uncles enlisted in the military, serving in both Europe and the Pacific.
This is what is so engaging about historical research to me—the connection that I can make personally, from a relative, a place, an event, a memorial, or a primary source. I thrive on that and continually strive to learn more about our past and connections to our present. Bringing the personal connection of history to my students makes the learning more meaningful. I believe, as a social studies educator, my role is to fulfill a student's need for learning by creating meaningful, engaging, and relevant learning opportunities.
After traveling to the South Pacific several years ago, I have become very interested in the Pacific side of World War II. Combined with my family's connection, I am even more excited about the opportunity to walk this path of history and conduct research in the area. I hope that I can bring my enthusiasm for learning and research in history to the Understanding Sacrifice: World War II in the Pacific Teacher Institute, and in turn, give my students the benefit of my learning experiences beyond the classroom.