- Grades 9 - 12 Campus News
What effect do war and conflict have on the human condition? Students in Mrs. Becca Nagy's Literature of War and Conflict class are having their understanding enriched with a series of guest speakers this quarter—most of which are able to speak from personal experience. Students submitted summaries of the presentations, and here are some of those excerpts:
Ray Scherfel was a man who worked hard and truly believed in protecting our country. He would go undercover to see how some army installations would respond to threats. He loved his job because he could be superior over generals and other officers, depending on his assignment. He loved working in Philadelphia because he was close to his wife and kids. He now lives at Dock Woods. (by Jonathan Nash)
- Captain Gordon L. Bell (left) shared about his experience as a former captain in the U.S.Coast Guard. He entered the Coast Guard during the Korean War era and was assigned to Sea Air Rescue and Weather Reconnaissance in the North Atlantic. He received the Coast Guard Commandant's Letter of Commendation with Gold Star, as well as Rifle and Pistol medals, and a Bronze star. (by Antanas Tamulis)
- Dr. Robert Hinks (below) came to our class to share about his 24-year career with the Navy. Dr. Hinks' family military history goes all the way back to the Civil War. He even passed around some Civil war memorabilia during his presentation. He told us how, as a young adult, he didn't know what he wanted to do. He found himself pursuing a medical degree, which eventually landed him in the Navy as a surgeon. Dr. Hinks served a total of 24 years in the Navy, which included the Persian Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars. He is a true American hero, and I am thankful for the opportunity to hear his story. (by Lukah Zehr)
One of our Korean students at Dock, Seohyun Park (below, right), talked about her parents' experiences during the Korean War era. She began her speech with some basic history about Korea. Russia and Japan were fighting for control of the country, and when the Japanese empire was dismantled at the end of World War II, Korea was divided into two spheres of influence along the 38th parallel. Both of Seohyun's parents' families lived in South Korea, and at that time South Korea was poorer than North Korea. During the Korean War, many South Koreans fled to countries nearby, including North Korea or China. She talked about how her great grandmother carried her grandfather for about 75 miles. The rugged path was hard, but not as tough as the hunger they experienced. She also talked about how her great grandfather was beaten so badly that he had to limp through the rest of his life because he took care of refugees. It was great to have someone from Korea telling us the real stories behind the news. (by Wenjing Cai)
On February 14, we went to Dock Manor to meet Gwen Eagleson, a black woman who grew up in the segregated South. It was a really open discussion. She lived in Georgia, then moved to the Philippines, where she met her husband. Together they moved to California, "the weirdest place to live," she said.
During the open discussion we talked about discrimination in the U.S. and in other parts of the world. A student from our class, Seohyun Park, said that this problem is present also here at Dock, and that American students sometimes prefer to avoid having relations with an international student. At that point, I joined the conversation saying that I didn't agree with that, especially here at Dock. Her answer was, "You know why? Because you are a white woman, a privileged woman." I was confused and a little bit shocked, honestly. This opened me up [to realize that], during the first days of school, the American students preferred to talk with me (I'm from Italy) more than with other international students.
I personally enjoyed meeting Mrs. Eagleson. She is an amazing woman. She is happy and full of life, and she managed to entertain 20 students for almost an hour and a half—and we all know that is not easy! After this presentation,, I believe that a lot of my classmates will try to make a small change in this society. (by Anna Zanetti)
Mr. Cliff Heizmann (photo, top) was a Vietnam War veteran who worked in computer diagnostics for the U.S. Military. He talked to our class about his training and some of the hardships of being moved around the United States to different bases. He did a wonderful job explaining the life of a soldier on a foreign military base. He accompanied his speech with a slide show of pictures from his time there. He talked about the brotherhood that was formed between him and his comrades and that he wouldn't trade that feeling for anything in the world.
Mr. Heizmann did a great job of depicting the life of a soldier in Vietnam and made the war come to life for us. His time with our class was a valuable experience. (by Camron Good)