Montville Township, New Jersey, native Lexi Hartley is one of only 16 teachers from across the United States selected to participate in the second annual Sacrifice for Freedom®: World War II in the Pacific Student & Teacher Institute. The program, coordinated through National History Day® (NHD), is sponsored by Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum, the USS Missouri Memorial Association, and Pacific Historic Parks. NHD is the nationally recognized non-profit organization that seeks to improve the teaching and learning of history.
Hartley, a 2011 graduate of Montville Township High School and now a teacher at Lehman Alternative Community School in Ithaca, New York, will be joined by her student Naia Peery in this distinctive opportunity to study, consider, and reflect upon World War II in a way that few have done before. As a high school student, Hartley participated in the National History Day contest, and was a student of the late Peter Porter, a Montville teacher and former Marine who died in 2017 after a battle with brain cancer. She graduated Salutatorian of the MTHS Class of 2011.
“I am so thrilled Naia and I were picked as one of the teams to participate in this institute,” Hartley said of her selection. “As a former student of Mr. Porter, I hope to honor him through my continued pursuit of valuable programs like those he himself participated in and contributed to.”
Over the next six months, Hartley and Peery will join 15 other teacher-student teams from across the U.S. to read books and selected materials, engage in online discussions, and research a Silent Hero®, a military service member who died in World War II and is buried or memorialized at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawai?i. In June, the teams will meet in O?ahu where they will walk in the footsteps of history, and learn firsthand about the impact of World War II in the Pacific. Travel and program expenses are provided for all participants. The experience will culminate with the completion and presentation of the teams’ Silent Hero eulogies and profiles, which will be featured on NHDSilentHeroes.org, as well as the websites of the sponsoring organizations.
“We are grateful to be working again with our friends and partners from the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites to offer this extraordinary opportunity,” said National History Day Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “The students and teachers selected for this year’s institute represent many different parts of the country. Through this invaluable academic experience, I hope participants gain a deep appreciation for those who served and sacrificed in the Pacific Theater of World War II, as well as a thorough understanding of the essential role Hawai‘i played in those operations.”
“This year, our nation will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. It is vitally important to provide opportunities for teachers and students to study the history of the war in the authentic settings provided in Hawai‘i,” said Dr. Shauna Tonkin, Director of Education and Visitor Experience at Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum. “The Pearl Harbor Historic Site partners are honored to be part of this unique program that creates personal connections to the past, and inspires teachers and students to keep the stories alive.”
Applications for the second annual Sacrifice for Freedom®: World War II in the Pacific Student & Teacher Institute were submitted by 129 teams from across the country. The 16 teams selected for the 2020 institute represent American Samoa, California, Georgia, Hawai‘i, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
About National History Day® (NHD)
NHD is a non-profit organization based in College Park, Maryland, which seeks to
improve the teaching and learning of history. The National History Day Contest
was established in 1974 and currently engages more than half a million students
every year in conducting original research on historical topics of interest. Students
present their research as a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website.
Projects compete first 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
is sponsored in part by HISTORY®, the National Endowment for the Humanities,
the National Park Service, Southwest Airlines, the Crown Family Foundation, The
Better Angels Society, and the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation. For more
information, visit nhd.org.
About Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum
Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization located on
Historic Ford Island at the central site of the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl
Harbor. Its mission is to steward America’s first aviation battlefield of World War
II, sharing the artifacts, personal stories, impact, and response to the Pearl Harbor
attack and the Pacific region battles that followed, honoring those who have
defended our freedom to educate and inspire future generations. Visitors walk
the Pearl Harbor flightline where the attack began, enter the bullet-scarred
hangars, see the control tower and vintage aircraft, and learn the stories of WWII
heroes and events that changed our nation and the world.
About Pacific Historic Parks
Headquartered in Waipahu, HI, Pacific Historic Parks is the non-profit cooperative
association of the National Park Service and has been raising funds and providing
support to NPS operations at Pearl Harbor since 1979, when the organization was
known as the Arizona Memorial Museum Association. PHP’s mission is to “support
the USS Arizona Memorial and other Pacific historic locations through education
and interpretive programs, research, preservation, and restoration, to perpetuate
the memory of events and honor the people involved in these sites.” PHP also
supports NPS operations at: Kalaupapa National Historical Park on Molokai; the
War in the Pacific National Historical Park on Guam, and the American Memorial
Park on Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands. Since 2014, Pacific Historic Parks
has also partnered with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to
support the Diamond Head State Monument. Visit pacifichistoricparks.org.
About the USS Missouri Memorial Association
The USS Missouri Memorial Association operates the Battleship Missouri Memorial as an historic attraction and oversees her care and preservation with the support of visitors, memberships, grants, and donations. The USS Missouri had an astounding career over five decades and three wars – World War II, the Korean War, and Desert Storm – after which it was decommissioned and donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Since opening in January 1999, the Battleship Missouri Memorial has attracted more than 9-million visitors from around the world with a fascinating tour experience showcasing the USS Missouri’s unique place in history. Located a mere ship’s length from the USS Arizona Memorial, the Mighty Mo completes a historical visitor experience that begins with the “day of infamy” and sinking of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and ends with Japan’s formal surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.
About the Pacific Fleet Submarine Memorial Association
The Pacific Fleet Submarine Memorial Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation that was founded in 1978 with the purpose of acquiring the WWII
fleet submarine USS Bowfin and placing her on permanent display at Pearl Harbor,
Hawaii. USS Bowfin opened to the public in 1981, and last year welcomed her nine
millionth visitor. With an average of 400,000 visitors per year, the USS Bowfin
Submarine Museum & Park is the most visited historic submarine in the world and one of the few places that the public can learn about the history of our “Silent Service.” The submarine is open daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 11 Arizona Memorial Drive at Pearl Harbor, except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. The adjacent submarine museum is presently closed for expansion and restoration. For more information, call (808) 423-1341, or visit bowfin.org.