Posted on November 21, 2019
One event librarians of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library’s Local History & Genealogy Department anticipate in the fall is the arrival of TPS high school students researching their assigned WWll soldier. The program, now in its seventh year, was started and is overseen by TPS social studies instructor Joe Boyle. His students each receive an assignment of one of the roughly 1,100 Toledoans who lost their lives during the war. For the entire semester, students research their assigned soldier’s life, time in service and death.
“We always look forward to Mr. Boyle’s class coming in for their WWII project,” Local History and Genealogy Manager Jill Gregg Clever said. “It is a great way to share our wonderful resources with young people and to encourage budding genealogists.”
Putting your hands on history, there’s nothing like it.
Social studies instructor
In a world where we often expect a few clicks on the computer to reveal anything we want to know, these students put together what they learn from census records and newspaper clippings kept in a card catalog at the Local History and Genealogy Department. These discoveries hopefully lead to details about the soldiers’ schools and/or places of worship they attended, possibly yearbook photos, the identity of the people in their families and maybe a photo of their family home. The research skills from the project are valuable, but along the way students gain a deeper understanding of the lives and families these soldiers left behind and ultimately a greater appreciation of the debt we all owe those who have served.
Mr. Boyle agrees, and adds that he “find(s) those catalogs just magic. Putting your hands on history, there’s nothing like it.”
The result of the students’ work culminates in the public ceremony in which they each give a eulogy for their fallen hero. Sharing their work in such a manner provides them with another important life skill, public speaking. The way their work may touch the lives of surviving family members who are invited to attend the ceremony, or the way their work may have impacted them personally, has a much greater impact.
The ceremony takes place 10 a.m. Dec. 6 at Scott High School auditorium.