American Legion Honors Thornton High

Thursday, January 7, 2016 - 12:59pm

Thornton High School honored with Proud to be an American award

Thornton High School (THS) was recognized with the Colorado American Legion’s Proud to be an American Award on Thursday, Nov. 12. The Proud to be an American Award is presented annually to individuals or organizations that demonstrate patriotism for the “principles, rights and privileges” essential to Americans.

Thornton High School will receive the award for its annual Oral History Day event. Now in its 19th year, the event strives to provide students with a better understanding of what it means to be an American and a veteran in the U.S. through a guest speaker series.

“The event was originally created to try and bring students out of the pages of a textbook and allow them the chance to experience history first hand,” said Karyl Haden, THS social studies teacher.

“As a team of social science teachers, we believe that it is critical for students to understand the personal experience of history and of being a veteran. Hearing different stories has allowed students to gain a better understanding of what it means to be an American and to live up to the values that are central to the American belief system.” 

More than 100 veterans and participants (i.e., Holocaust survivors, Japanese Internment Camp survivors, and homefront participants) have come to speak at THS. Students have had the chance to interact with veterans from World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War I - Desert Storm, and the Black Hawk down crisis in Mogadishu.

Nearly 9,500 students have participated in the program.

“Oral History Day gave me a perspective more authentic than any textbook could ever offer,” said Ann Nemith, 2003 THS graduate. “I was able to meet World War II veterans and hear their stories first hand. It forever changed the way I look at war, freedom and democracy.”