Prior to teaching Special Education in California, I was a history teacher in the Philippines, a country that saw destruction and suffering caused by World War II.

One of the most powerful learning experiences I was able to provide my students on World War II was to invite local citizens who lived during the war as guest speakers in the classroom. In that lesson, the speakers recounted their memory of the Japanese attack on Manila, the Bataan Death March, and the emotions that ran upon learning of the news that General Douglas MacArthur had returned to the Philippines as he had promised.

What struck me most from listening to their first-hand account of the war was that many of them never lost hope; many of them never stopped fighting. In spite of this hardship, the Filipino people persevered and gave whatever they could for the good of the many.

Now currently teaching special education, I still find myself demonstrating my love for history and the power of a personal story. I strongly believe that every student has a special gift and that education is the tool to help every young student discover that gift and use it to make a significant contribution to society. I believe that the Understanding Sacrifice program will be a good opportunity for me to conduct research on World War II history and make that connection into the student's life in the community.