Mize awarded World War II Fellowship

Bruce Mize, social studies teacher at West Point High School, with books about Germany during World War II.
By: 
DONNA SUMMERALL
Staff Writer

There were 469 applicants for The Summer Teacher Institute in New Orleans, and about 30 were selected from 27 states. Most of the applicants chosen were from the north and the west. Only two applicants from the south were given this prestigious opportunity, one was from Georgia, the other is Bruce Mize, social studies teacher from West Point High School.

"I am honored and humbled to be chosen to represent West Point, West Point High School, and the state of Mississippi as a cohort for the National World War II Museum in New Orleans this summer," Mize said. "This will be an opportunity for me to expand my knowledge and understanding of how Americans worked together toward a common goal of winning the war."

Mize said he will be focusing on the "home front" during the second World War, especially the role of women and African-Americans.

"I believe the 1940s were the beginning of the Women's Rights Movement," Mize said. "For the first time, women were leaving the home and working in professions dominated by men. It gave them a taste of independence, being able to provide for themselves and their families while the men were fighting in the war."

Mize is also asking for donations of items and memorabilia from World War I through the Vietnam era. He uses these items in the classroom to make a connection between that time and the present.

"I want my students to do more than just read about history in a text book," Mize said. "I want them to touch items not only from a war, but that someone in this area was using. I want to make it real for them. I took students on a Holocaust tour last summer. It's one thing to read that six million jews were killed in the death camps, it’s different to tour Auschwitz-Birkenau and see the rooms full of shoes that people walked in with and never got to put on again."

Mize is taking students on tour of the D-Day Invasion this summer, which ties in with the 18-month Fellowship.

The Summer Teacher Institute is an immersive 16-month professional development experience for middle and high school teachers, focusing on the history and lessons of this transformative era. The program includes both an intensive weeklong seminar at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans and a weeklong excursion to a WWII-related destination. Each year’s institute focuses on a different aspect of the war, employing a rich array of curriculum tools and primary sources to help bring the war to life in the classroom. Participants who complete the program are eligible for up to six hours of graduate credit and will become part of the Museum’s nationwide network of master teachers dedicated to improving the quality of instruction on World War II.

The 2018 Summer Teacher Institute focuses on the U.S. home front—the engine of production, innovation, and volunteerism that made Allied victories possible on battlefields all across the globe. Rob Citino, the Samuel Zemurray Stone Senior Historian at The National WWII Museum and author of numerous books on the war, will head the team of expert historians, curators, and educators who will conduct the program.

PHASE I: NEW ORLEANS

Participants will gather in New Orleans for a weeklong seminar led by Citino, guest scholars, and other key museum staff. Morning sessions will focus on historical content and strategies for introducing students to the complex role of the home front in carrying out the war. Each participant will receive the museum’s newest curriculum resources on this topic, including access to useful videos, oral histories, and other digital media. Participants will also examine WWII artifacts and archival documents from the Museum’s vault, meet WWII veterans, and explore the Museum’s growing collection of innovative exhibits.

PHASE II: WORKSHOPS

During the 2018-19 school year, participants will design and lead their own professional development workshops using the curriculum resources explored during Phase I. The Museum will provide free copies of its published curriculum guides, as well as assistance with planning and advertising the workshops.

PHASE III: PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII

In July 2019, participants will reconvene in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and spend a week touring historic WWII sites on the island of Oahu. The itinerary will include a blend of military installations involved in the Pearl Harbor attack and sites relating to key Home Front themes from Phase I.

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