Moriarty Student Chosen to Tell a Hero's Tale in Normandy, France
Rebekah Page of Moriarty High School in Moriarty, New Mexico has been accepted into the prestigious Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom® Albert H. Small Student & Teacher Institute. Along with Moriarty High School teacher, Amy Page, Rebekah will embark on a year-long course of study that concludes with a journey to Normandy, France to honor a WWII Silent Hero who died during or after the Normandy Invasion. Courses, materials, and international travel are paid for by the generosity of Mr. Albert H. Small.
The Page team joins 14 other student and teacher teams from around the country on this educational journey. Teams select one Silent Hero from their hometown or state who is memorialized at the Normandy American Cemetery. Amy and Rebekah then conduct in-depth historical research on the life of this Silent Hero. Through primary sources such as war records, draft cards, or interviews with descendants, they will learn about conducting historical research while telling the tale of this Silent Hero.
In June 2018, teams will travel to Washington, D.C. to finish their research with help from historians and college professors. While in D.C. they will tour the World War II Memorial, conduct research at the National Archives, and prepare for an expedition to the beaches of D-Day. The final leg of their journey is to Normandy, France where they will tour Omaha and Utah Beaches, walking in the footsteps of history. After visiting museums, sites of historic battles, and churches that were used as field hospitals, the journey concludes at the Normandy American Cemetery. There, Rebekah will deliver a graveside eulogy for the Silent Hero she spent months researching.
“This program helps a new generation of Americans understand the sacrifice for freedom made during Operation Overlord,” said National History Day Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “Nothing relates the significance of the sacrifices made in Normandy better than a personal connection. Students become well acquainted with their Silent Heroes, often referring to them as a friend or family member. The eulogies they deliver are often tear filled, powerful, and incredibly moving. I am confident Rebekah will walk away with a powerful understanding of the sacrifices so many Silent Heroes made in World War II.”
Rebekah, under the guidance of Amy, will create a memorial profile on NHDSilentHeroes.org. These pages live on as a digital memorial to the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. After participating in the program, the Page team will be charged with presenting the story of their Silent Hero to local schools, community groups, and veterans’ organizations.
For years, Amy Page, a history teacher at Moriarty High School, has cultivated some of New Mexico's finest historical scholars. Through the National History Day (NHD) program, Ms. Page annually travels with dozens of her students to compete in the NHD national contest, and celebrates with them as they earn national recognition. She has tirelessly advocated for history education, from leading the effort to revise the state's assessment blueprint for history and government classes, to testifying before the legislature on the importance of National History Day as a tool for college preparedness, and leading professional development efforts for other history teachers statewide. She has been recognized for her work with the Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award.
Moriarty High School sophomore Rebekah Page, the student member of the Normandy team, participated in NHD for the first time last year. She rocketed straight to Nationals as part of a group performance called Private Lines: The Rum Runner's Right To Be Let Alone. The performance, which was considered by judges to be among the top ten best in their division, explored the case of Olmstead v. United States. The watershed 1928 Supreme Court case considered if wiretapped private telephone conversations, obtained by federal agents without judicial approval and subsequently used as evidence, constituted a violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.
The Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom® Albert H. Small Student and Teacher Institute is coordinated by National History Day® and is funded by a generous donation from Mr. Albert H. Small, a veteran himself.
About National History Day® (NHD):
NHD is a non-profit education organization headquartered in College Park, MD. Established in 1974, NHD promotes an appreciation for historical research among middle and high school students through multiple annual programs. More than half a million students participate in the annual National History Day Contest. These research-based projects are entered into contests at the local and affiliate levels, where the top entries are invited to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park. NHD provides professional development opportunities and curriculum materials for educators of all levels. NHD is sponsored in part by HISTORY®, Jostens, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Park Service, Southwest Airlines, the Joe Weider Foundation, and the WEM 2000 Foundation of the Dorsey & Whitney Foundation. For more information, visit nhd.org.
About National History Day in New Mexico
National History Day in New Mexico is coordinated by the New Mexico Humanities Council. The NMHC is a 501 c(3) nonprofit organization. The Council strengthens our connections with one another and explores who we are, who we have been, and who we aspire to be. We encourage and support the humanities by seeking out and funding humanities programs for presentation to and participation by public audiences throughout New Mexico. For more information on National History Day in New Mexico, visit nmhum.org.