Students learn about history through Vet-Connect

by Celia Shortt

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Guy Longshore shows a Newnan High School student the spot on a B-29 where worked as a gunner.    

Too many times history can be abstract, and Newnan High's Stephen Quesinberry gives students ways to see how real history is through his Vet-Connect program.

'I hope the students get the idea that history is real,' said Quesinberry, chair of the NHS history and social studies department. '[The Vet-Connect] is one way of bringing history to life, and the veterans who come get the satisfaction of sharing their story.

'It helps the veterans connect with the students,' he added.

At the end of each semester, the history and social studies department invite veterans to visit with students and connect them to the history they have been learning about in class. Veterans from as far back as World War II attend.

In addition, some military vehicles are there, as well as a a few people who display military equipment.

This semester's Vet-Connect was held on Friday at the Jackson-Pless National Guard Armory on Armory Drive.

John Weining is a retired United States Air Force pilot who fought in the Vietnam War. He has been coming to the Vet-Connects since Quesinberry started them. Before they started, however, he made a presentation in one of Quesinberry's classes.

'I was used to how I was treated when I returned to the States, so I was apprehensive when he asked me to speak about it (Vietnam) to his class,' Weining said. 'But the students are smart and ask good questions. The first time in Q's class was a positive experience.

'He teaches so well - topnotch,' Weining added.

Bill Word served in the Navy for 20 years and was in Cuba when Castro took over. He enjoys all the veterans getting together and the camaraderie that comes with it. He also enjoys talking with students about the military.

'They learn a deeper appreciation of what the military is about and what we do,' he said.

Dan Klein fought in World War II and later retired from the U.S. Air Force as a lieutenant colonel. He enjoys the fellowship of the memories from the last 40 to 50 years and talking to the students.

'I connect with the students,' he said. 'I enjoy it because they listen and seem very appreciative.'

Guy Longshore of LaGrange is another World War II veteran. He served in the U.S. Air Force for three years as a gunner on B-29s. A B-29 is the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Japan.

Friday's Vet-Connect is the second one he has attended.

'It's a wonderful thing, the fact that the young people will see something they'll never see again and see things that they hear about in books,' he said.

Vet-Connects are held each semester.

The next will be held at the end of the 2013-2014 spring semester.




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