Highly Competitive, World War II-focused Education Program Announces New Cadre of Teachers

Eighteen middle and high school educators have been selected to participate in Understanding Sacrifice — a professional development program based on a partnership between National History Day®, the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), and the National Cemetery Administration (NCA). During this 18-month program, which kicks off this month, teachers learn about America’s role in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II.

Throughout the program, teachers attend virtual lectures, study books on the conflict, and participate in discussions. Because immersive experiences create richer teaching materials, the group will walk in the footsteps of history as they travel to San Francisco, Honolulu, and Manila to see first-hand the places that influenced the outcome of the war. This highly competitive program pays for travel to these Pacific locations as well as books and other materials.

All of these activities support the development of the final products the teachers create: a lesson plan and a fallen hero profile. Teachers spend a year conducting in-depth research on the life of a fallen hero, who is an American buried or memorialized at an ABMC or NCA cemetery in San Francisco, Honolulu, or Manila. At the same time, the teachers are developing in-depth lesson plans to focus on one element of the Pacific, such as the Battle of Midway or the Cabanatuan POW Camp. Lessons are designed for science, visual and performing arts, social studies, or language arts classes. Both the lesson plan and the fallen hero profile are created using sources from places such as NCA, ABMC, the National Archives and the local community.

The goal for the Understanding Sacrifice program is to reinvigorate the teaching and learning of WWII in classrooms as we mark the 75th anniversary of major battles. All of the resources will be made available for free at in November 2017.

The following teachers have been chosen from 161 applicants for this competitive program.



City, State

Jennifer Camplair

Lorena High School

Lorena, Texas

Jose Cumagun

Deer Valley High School

Antioch, California

Walt Davis

Edisto High School

Cordova, South Carolina

Ellen Davis

Ramblewood Middle School

Coral Springs, Florida

Gale Gillis Carter

East Chicago Central High School

East Chicago, Indiana

Katie Hoerner

Belleville East High School

Belleville, Illinois

Daniel Jocz

Downtown Magnets High School

Los Angeles, California

Scott Johnson

Battle Ground Academy

Franklin, Tennessee

Whitney Joyner

Northeast Middle School

Clarksville, Tennessee

Ryan Kaiser

The Mt. Washington School

Baltimore, Maryland

Chris Lese

Marquette University High School

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Leif Liberg

James Monroe Middle School

Ridgecrest, California

Jeremy Miller

Cambridge-Isanti High School

Cambridge, Minnesota

Gena Oppenheim

Saint Ann's School

Brooklyn, New York

Catherine Phillips

Olive Peirce Middle School

Ramona, California

Matthew Poth

Park View High School

Sterling , Virginia

Kevin Wagner

Carlisle High School

Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Nicole Winter

Cosby High School

Midlothian, Virginia

This is the third year of the Understanding Sacrifice program. The first two years took teachers to Northern and Southern Europe. Their lesson plans and fallen hero profiles are currently available on

About ABMC:
Established by Congress in 1923, the American Battle Monuments Commission commemorates the service, achievements, and sacrifice of U.S. armed forces. ABMC administers 25 overseas military cemeteries, and 27 memorials, monuments, and markers.

About VA National Cemetery Administration:
Established in 1974, VA’s National Cemetery Administration (NCA) operates 134 national cemeteries and 33 soldiers’ lots and monuments sites. More than 4.3 million Americans, including Veterans of every U.S. war and conflict, are buried in VA’s national cemeteries. For Veterans not buried in a VA national cemetery, VA provides headstones, markers, or medallions for placement in private cemeteries around the world.

About National History Day®:
National History Day® is a non-profit education organization based out of College Park, MD.  Established in 1973, National History Day® seeks to promote the learning and teaching of history through a variety of curricular and extra-curricular programs that engage over half a million secondary students around the world each year. More information is at

About the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media:
The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University uses digital media and computer technology to democratize history— incorporating multiple voices, reaching diverse audiences, and encouraging popular participation in presenting and preserving the past. For more information, visit