Wellesley High School Evolutions program students on May 11 will honor WHS alumni and staff military veterans with an unveiling and dedication of a commemorative art project.
The event, which is open to veterans and the general public, will take place at 6pm in the courtyard behind the cafeteria, and those planning to attend are encouraged to RSVP here. After the dedication, the project will be brought inside and ideally reside in a location where it might encourage quiet reflection.
Fifteen students will work on the physical project over two to three weeks, though they’ve put in lots of work already identifying over 600 names by cross-referencing lists of residents who served in the U.S. Armed Forces by using information from the Wellesley Historical Society’s collection of old WHS yearbooks. Because there are so many names, they won’t be individually recognized on the project, but names will be recorded in an online database that the public will be able to add names to on their own.
Identifying the veterans “has been an incredibly time-consuming task,” and students say that has contributed to the project feeling so meaningful, according to Emily Shapero, a WHS history teaching who is working with the students on the project (and kindly shared the accompanying photos with us). “There is definitely an emotional connection when they see the yearbook photos of the graduates who went on to serve,” she says.
Inspiration for the project came from students taking part in an interdisciplinary unit on “War and Hope,” and visiting monuments throughout greater Boston. Students visited Armenian Heritage Park, the Crispus Attucks Memorial, the Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial, the Irish Famine Memorial and the Holocaust Memorial, among others.
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