Our lower Secondary students in Mr. Brasher’s English classes were treated to a very special visit from Mr. John T. Siewert, a US World War II veteran – 96 years young! Mr. Siewert discussed his experience going to war as a young man not much older than his audience members, with nothing to go on but the training the US Navy provided him – and how he quickly rose in the ranks to Quartermaster. He expressed the importance of “learning to live with each other” despite other’s shortcomings, and remaining open to all learning opportunities and experiences.
Mr. Brasher comments on the academic context of Mr. Siewert’s visit:
“It was a powerful speech, in spite of Mr. Siewert’s frailty! The Year 7s have completed a unit on the Holocaust, so they had some familiarity with the conflict and made connections with the novels they had read, Once by Morris Gleitzman and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. Year 9 students have completed a memoir unit, which involved writing their own personal experiences. Claudia Moes will ask them to complete another brief writing exercise imagining themselves to be in one of the situations Mr. Siewert described.”
Mr. Siewert is an international as well as a national hero, being the recipient of the Legion d’Honneur, the highest award given by France to a non-citizen for his service protecting the country during the Normandy landing.
19 November 2020