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Veterans Share Firsthand Experiences With Bret Harte Students

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Angels Camp, CA– A 24-year tradition at Bret Harte High School, headed up by history teacher Jennifer Truman, continued as Veterans and Serviceman shared stories with Bret Harte high school students. Students, working in small groups, spent 20 minutes with a veteran or serviceman of their choice. Tables were helmed by veterans that contained photographs, uniforms, and memorabilia. The majority of the veterans were local residents who volunteered their time to spend with the students.

Veterans and servicemen attending this year include Bill Waid, Tom Christian, Ric Ryan, Jay Hennell, Robert Bradway, Julie Hollars, Susan Escallier, Ed Anderson, Bob Axiak, Larry Bain, Marty Straessler, and Gary Patterson.

Veteran Martin (Marty) Straessler explained the importance of the event.

“My hope is that we can impart a small amount of knowledge to the students. What they read in the textbooks is not indicative of what actually happened. We bring the ‘been there, done that’ perspective to history.”

Students participating in this event are required to find out who they are talking to, where they served, their branch of service, which conflict they fought, where they were stationed, what their duties were, and any engagement they were involved in. Students are also asked to outline the stories they hear, including a description of photographs.

A special inclusion to this year’s annual event involved the Copper Veterans of Foreign Wars(VFW) post presenting awards to the Bret Harte High School winners of the Voice of Democracy Essay contest, an annual nationwide scholarship program sponsored by the VFW.