Plymouth students preserve local WWII memories

PLYMOUTH A group of students in Plymouth hopes to preserve the memories of World War II veterans in Marshall County through a special project. Sophomores in the Weidner School of Inquiry (WSOI) were given a unique opportunity to document local stories on film. Students invited around 40 veterans and home front women to sit down for an interview about his or her experience during the war.

The idea originated at the Marshall County Historical Society. Staff at the museum wanted to document the memories before they were lost, but didn't have the resources to do it alone. So, the museum asked WSOI students for assistance.

"This is bigger than what I ever thought it would be," said Linda Rippy, the Executive Director for the Marshall County Museum. "It's amazing to see a generation of people talking to the younger generation and actually connecting. You can see they're both enjoying it."

The US Veterans Administration says by 2030, most if not all of the WWII veterans will be gone. The group says some 555 men and women die every day. That's why faculty, students and museum staff want to document the memories, now.

"This isn't about grades, this isn't about homework. We want our kids to take on something they can look back on five or ten years from now, and can say, 'I made history, I was part of something much larger than myself,'" said Jeff Corso, one of the project facilitators.

Students in the WSOI learn through hands-on projects in the classroom, but they say, this is different than anything they've done before.

"This is very new for us because we had the historical society come to us and just ask us to do this, so we took this as a really proud and honorable way to do this project. I've never heard of another school actually doing this," said Caleb Koss, a sophomore involved in the project.

Students interviewed area veterans for two days. From there, they worked with cameras and editing software to put together a final piece. Eventually, the video story will be available to the public at the Marshall County Museum. The group also plans to submit the final project to the Library of Congress in Washington DC.

"We're hoping it goes that far," said sophomore, Lauren Kolter. "It would mean so much to us knowing here we are in Plymouth, Indiana, making history in Washington DC."

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