BY KASEY CHARRON
On Thursday, November 11, Canton High School celebrated Veterans Day in a school wide assembly followed by a thirty minute CHAT period so that students could talk with veterans. Following the program, Social Studies Department Chairperson Nora Mocarski ran a survey to gauge student response to the Veteran’s Day celebration. Due to the limited time that was available for students to complete the survey, only 55 students replied completely.
The questions in the survey asked students to assess and compare the three different parts of the Veteran’s Day assembly; the beforehand research, the school assembly, and the classroom visits.
When asked how well knowing the backgrounds beforehand helped with their understanding during the classroom visits, 34 of the students responded affirmatively by rating it a four or a five (1: Not at all, to 5: Very well). However, when asked how well they knew the backgrounds prior to the visit, only three students rated it a five while 30 rated it a four to amount to 33 total students responding affirmatively.
When students were asked how the assembly helped with their level of understanding, 42 of the students rated it affirmatively with a four or a five. However, when asked to choose which part of the celebration helped with understanding more, only 32.7% of students selected the assembly over the classroom visits.
Students seemed to respond the most positively to the classroom visits, as 45 students rated it a four or a five (and no students rated it a one) when asked how the visits helped with their level of understanding. When asked if the visits were worth the time invested on a scale of 1: Not at all, to 5: Absolutely, 43 students responded with a four or a five. Students also generally chose the visits as being more beneficial for their understanding over the assembly (67.2% of students chose the classroom visits).
The final questions on the survey regarded the celebration as a whole, and when asked if the celebration should stay as it is, 85.5% of students believed so. The final questions in the survey were open response. Below are the answers many students provided when asked what important concepts or ideas they felt they learned, but didn’t expect to.
“I did not expect the veteran to be able to relate or understand us as well as he did. He was very insightful and created a real relationship between the students and his experiences. His main focus was on connecting with us, trying to make us understand what his journey was like in terms we recognize today.”
“I learned that although the military is tough, and can be taxing to your mind and body, many veterans are thankful that they served and would do it again.”
“I learned that many veterans of the Vietnam War didn’t always understand what they were fighting for, even if they listed in the U.S military by choice, which was different from my expectation that they understood the U.S motives for involvement in Vietnam (especially if they chose to enlist and fight overseas, I expected that they would understand why their enlistment was necessary).”
Students proposed the following as ways to improve future assemblies.
“I feel like they need more classroom time, they never get to finish all their stories, and I feel as though simply listening to their tale is a good way to show you’re thankful.”
“Maybe more stories from veterans shared at full school assembly. Also: multiple veterans in the classroom could be interesting because it could carry the conversation better.”
photo credit – Savanna Kashnig