According to The New York Times article, “How Do We Tell A New Generation of Teenagers About the Vietnam War?” the majority of ground troops in Vietnam were teenagers and those who had recently been teenagers. This is exactly the age group that Rachel Eastman teaches United States History at Clear Creek High School in League City, Texas, 30 minutes southeast of Houston. A home-schooled student from kindergarten through high school, Rachel decided to become a teacher after her professors at College of the Ozarks made history come to life for her. She believes that students who value history will, in turn, become empathetic and thoughtful citizens who are invested in civil discourse and community involvement. It’s this belief that inspired her Fund for Teachers fellowship proposal which ultimately made her a 2020 Fund for Teachers Fellow.
In crafting her fellowship proposal to research the Vietnam War, Rachel attended a Veterans meeting and sought their input for designing an experience that would make Vietnam and the war meaningful and relevant to her students. As a result, she will explore, document and photograph historic sites, while volunteering with the non-profit Peace Trees to, enhance instruction of this era and accompany learning provided through Vietnam Veterans’ classroom visits.