For Immediate Release
May 6, 2010

IIllinois Students create digital archive of World War II experiences

Documentaries showcase our nation’s 'Greatest Generation'

SPRINGFIELD – Students from across the state were recognized Thursday for the digital documentaries they produced featuring World War II veterans. The documentaries, showcased Thursday at the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) offices in Springfield, were made through a project funded by the World War II Illinois Veterans Memorial Board with support from ISBE.

“This is a remarkable learning project that gives students a chance to practice many skills at once,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “These students and World War II veterans help bring history alive as they share precious memories and reflections that will help future generations better understand their sacrifice and legacy.”

Winners from more than 35 student teams from 13 school districts across the state were announced during the afternoon ceremony featuring John Carrigan, president of the World War II Illinois Veterans Memorial Board and Superintendent Koch who presented awards. The student team from Reavis High School in Burbank won first place for their documentary, and teams from Williamsville High School took second and third place. The Home Front Award, for interviews with non-veterans, was awarded to the student team from Centennial High School in Champaign.

Prizes ranged from $600 for first place to $100 for honorable mention and will go toward the project winners’ schools to purchase additional equipment and supplies for the Illinois WWII Classroom Projects.  Six teams of educators and citizens from across the state judged 48 student documentaries.

The documentaries, made through the Illinois World War II Veterans Memorial Board Classroom Project, can be viewed at There are more than 100 projects posted on the website and organizers expect several dozen more will be added by the end of the school year. This is the second year of the project.

The Illinois World War II Veteran’s Memorial Board provided a $250,000 grant for the project, which is supported by the Illinois Learning Technology Program Centers. Established by the Illinois State Board of Education in 1995, the Learning Technology Program Centers provide Illinois school districts with the technological resources to improve academic achievement and prepare students for the 21st Century.

There are 14 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 websites.

Students from the following schools have been involved in the Illinois World War II Veterans Memorial Board Classroom Project to date:

Wilbur Trimpe Middle School, Bethalto CUSD 8, Bethalto

Carlyle High School, Carlyle CUSD 9, Carlyle

Centennial High School and Franklin Middle School, Champaign

Collinsville High School, Collinsville CUSD 10, Collinsville

DeSoto Elementary School, DeSoto Consolidated School District 86, De Soto

Harlem High School, Harlem Unit District 122, Loves Park

Nashville Community High School, Nashville Community High School District 99, Nashville

Reavis High School, Reavis Township High School District 220, Burbank

Rock Island High School, Rock Island School District 41, Rock Island

Springfield High School, Springfield School District 186, Springfield

Monmouth-Roseville Junior High School, Monmouth-Roseville CUSD 238, Monmouth

Williamsville High School, Williamsville CUSD 15, Williamsville