For Immediate Release                                                                                                        
Monday, April 27, 2009

Today’s’ Students Showcase Yesterday’s Heroes

High School Students Use Technology to make Documentaries about Our Nation’s 'Greatest Generation'

SPRINGFIELD – High school students from throughout Illinois have interviewed World War II Veterans and produced digital documentaries that will be showcased April 30th at the Illinois State Library in Springfield. The project has been funded by the World War II Illinois Veterans Memorial Board and administrated by the Illinois Learning Technology Centers which receives funding from the Illinois State Board of Education.

"A project like this takes students farther than any history book and offers us all a permanent record of our state’s World War II veterans," said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. "The sacrifice and determination of these veterans comes alive as the camera rolls and our students capture precious memories and reflections that have never before been shared and may not be told again."

Twenty student teams from eight school districts across the state will present their digital story projects in one-hour time slots beginning at 8:30 a.m. on April 30 and running until 4 p.m. Students from the Champaign Centennial High School Choir will present a World War II Musical Review at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Illinois Senator Deanna Demuzio of the 49th District, John Carrigan, president of the World War II Illinois Veterans Memorial Board and Anne Craig, director of the Illinois State Library, will present awards at a 3:15 p.m. ceremony.

Teams will compete to win first place and $600 in additional project equipment, second place; $300 of additional project equipment and third place; a 20’’ monitor donated by Dell, Inc.

"I think it’s a wonderful project because it’s far-reaching," said Carrigan, president of the World War II Illinois Veterans Memorial Board. "It reaches these children and attaches them to 'the greatest generation.' These kids are the authors now of real life history."

The documentaries, called the Illinois World War II Veterans Memorial Board Classroom Project, can be viewed at There are 31 projects posted on the Web site and organizers expect several dozen more will be added by the end of the school year.

Funding for this project comes from the Illinois World War II Veteran’s Memorial Board and through the Learning Technology Program Centers, established by the Illinois State Board of Education in 1995 to provide Illinois School districts with the technological resources to improve academic achievement and prepare students for the 21st Century.

There are now 15 Learning Technology Centers that provide educators with professional development to integrate technology into classroom instruction. The centers also help districts close the achievement gap through the use of technology, guide districts through the development and peer review approval process for technology integration plans, help with grant writing, and provide expertise with network security issues, e-mail and district Web sites.