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SHS Teacher/Student duo to deliver eulogy for fallen WWII soldier in Normandy, France

Giles Jones and Craig Wood

SHS Junior Giles Jones and History Instructor Craig Wood will travel to Washington DC and Normandy France in June.

SHS Junior, Giles Jones and History instructor, Craig Wood have been accepted into a summer research and travel program with the Albert H. Small Normandy Institute at George Washington University where they will honor a WWII hero.

In June, Giles and Mr. Wood will travel to Washington DC and Normandy, France to research a local WWII war hero, James B. Gunn, and deliver a eulogy for him at the Normandy American Cemetery. They are one of 15 teacher/student teams from across the nation accepted into this year's program.

"I feel like this experience will allow me to connect more personally to the experience soldiers had and have a greater appreciation of all they did," Giles shared. "Opportunities like this have affected my overall experience at Starkville High greatly. I really am appreciative for Mr. Wood for informing me about this program. I feel as though this program will also allow me to use the knowledge I have learned in my history classes and see it in the real world."

James B. GunnStarkville native and Starkville High graduate James B. Gunn landed on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944 as part of the Allied invasion of France and was declared MIA on June 16.

"I believe programs, like Albert H. Small Institute, provide great benefit to the students that attend," Mr. Wood said. "Photos and videos limit the knowledge of the event.  Traveling to where the event took place and having an expert explain the events takes learning to a new level."

Mr. Wood also shared about the impact the experience will have on him as a teacher. "For this program, being able to stand on the beaches the allied forces landed on to open a second front in Europe will probably be the memory of a lifetime from this program. " 

Congratulations to Giles and Mr. Wood on your acceptance for this excellent real-life experience of history! To read more about Mr. Gunn and the upcoming project, click to read this article from Commercial Dispatch.