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2015 Christa McAuliffe Reach for the Stars Award

"Hearing Their Stories: Building an Oral History of Local Vietnam Veterans"

William Busbin, Ph.D.
Auburn High School, Auburn, AL  

This 2015 grant-winning proposal exemplified an innovative approach to history education by encompassing a study of the Vietnam War through collaboration of US history teachers with English/Language Arts teachers and the local veteran community. The  project sought to provide students an engaging and meaningful study of the Vietnam War that would complement their studies in other curricular areas as well as enhance their connection with the local community.

About 150 11th graders representing a diverse range of academic interests, abilities and ethnic/ racial backgrounds, took part in this project and were engaged in a cross-curricular endeavor to study the Vietnam War at a greater depth through exposure to it in both their US history and English courses. Following the completion of this cross-curriculum unit and the acquiring of an in-depth understanding of the Vietnam War, students prepared and conducted oral history interviews with local Vietnam veterans as a culminating activity for the units of study. Using the interviews collected, students contributed these to a local oral history project website begun by previous students, and donated copies to both the participating veterans and the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project.

Busbin presented on the implementation of his 2015 grant-winning proposal at the 2016 NCSS Annual Conference in Washington DC. His presentation titled: Engaging the Community: Building an Oral History Program shared with educators strategies using the Vietnam oral history project as a reference, on how to conceptualize and construct their own oral history program at their school, paying special attention on how to involve the community in the process and how to create a product appropriate for the public.

Busbin received a Ph.D. from Auburn University, a M.S. Ed. from Auburn University and Georgetown University as a Madison Fellow, and an Bachelor of Science from Auburn University. He is a social studies teacher at Auburn High School and serves as Secretary General/consultant for the World Affairs Youth Seminar at Auburn University.

About the NCSS Christa McAuliffe Reach for the Stars Award