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A lesson in history

August 17, 2000

A lesson in history



Jim Hutson is beginning his 26th year of teaching at Clear Spring High School. As he always does, he will ask his American history students to interview older relatives or neighbors who lived through the Great Depression and World War II.

Hutson provides students with a questionnaire, and they make audio - and more recently video - recordings of the interviews. Some of the people in the community have been interviewed more than once - some as many as 100 times, Hutson said. But there's always something different that comes out. Students learn about the good, old days and the not-so-good old days from the "horse's mouth," Hutson said.

Ashley Hutson, 16, was a student in her father's American History class last year. She talked to her great uncle Blaine Mills, who was drafted into the army at 18. He saw World War II combat in the Battle of the Bulge, as well as the furnaces and starving survivors of German concentration camps.

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The 76-year-old Clear Spring resident has talked to four or five of Hutson's students over the years, sharing good and bad memories. He believes that World War II is fiction to many young people.

Talking to Mills made history more real, Ashley said.

Over the years Hutson has heard from former students who tell him they are grateful to have the recording of loved ones who have died.

"That's kind of neat," Hutson said.

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