Following in the Footsteps of a World War II Veteran

Humble, TX, Teacher Retraces Namesake’s Steps – from Point of Engagement to Final Resting Place – to Make Soldiers’ Sacrifices Relevant for Students

(Houston) November 10, 2011 – On June 5, 1944, Silas DuFrene stood on the Cliffs of Dover facing his ultimate fate across the English Channel. Sixty-seven years later, his nephew and namesake stood in the same place, pondering his uncle’s sacrifice and preparing for a 15-day pilgrimage to help students at Eagle Springs Elementary tackle the question “Why do soldiers fight and serve?”

Armed with an $4,100 Fund for Teachers grant last June, Silas DuFrene retraced a World War II soldier’s journey–from his uncle’s engagement point in England to his final resting place in Epinal, France. DuFrene’s itinerary included London’s Imperial War Museum, soldiers’ barracks and the British Museum’s WWII archives. He followed his uncle’s journey to the beaches of Normandy, adding stops at the Hôtel Meruice, a Nazi command post during the occupation of Paris, and the Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation commemorating the memory of more than 200,000 people sent to concentration camps. Silas also left for Krakow, Poland, to experience Auschwitz. His tour ended where his uncle’s did, at the American Cemetery in Epinal, France.

“At the end of my fellowship, I understood why our soldiers go to war and fight. To protect the life of another is truly a high calling.”

“I wanted students to understand why soldiers, like my uncle, fought and died in this war. But helping young children visualize the people and events of World War II as real and relevant, rather than facts in a book, is daunting,” explained DuFrene. “On my fellowship, I visited key places and collected information to help students grasp our soldiers’ dedication to protecting those who are unable to protect themselves.”

“I can recall the moment I walked onto the D-Day beaches in Normandy. It was almost as if I could hear the chaos of that military invasion nearly 70 years ago,” said DuFrene. “I felt such a sense of such gratitude for the sacrifice those men displayed that day. As I walked around the memorial cemetery, I the true enormity of that sacrifice overwhelmed me. And after visiting Auschwitz at the end of my fellowship, I understood why our soldiers go to war and fight. To protect the life of another is truly a high calling.”

Three New States Eligible for Fund for Teachers Grants

For the first time, national nonprofit Fund for Teachers invites Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi educators to design ideal summer odyssey and bring learning back to students. Teachers propose what they want to learn and where; if selected, Fund for Teachers awards up to $10,000 to make it happen.

Houston, TX (PRWEB) November 09, 2011

Venture capitalists for educators – that describes Fund for Teachers. But instead of investing in innovative ideas, Fund for Teachers invests in innovative teachers. And this year, for the first time, this national nonprofit invites educators from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to propose their ideal learning experience. If selected, teachers receive up to $10,000 to put their plans into action during summer 2012.

Unlike other teacher grant opportunities, Fund for Teachers puts virtually no limitations on teachers’ requests. Any destination or discipline is fair game, as evidenced by the 433 teachers from across America who traveled in 116 countries on 7 continents last summer. Since 2001, 4,500 teachers leveraged $15.9 million in FFT grants into global odysseys that perpetually impact students, classrooms and communities back home.

Fund for Teachers’ founding sponsor, Apache Corporation, invited the nonprofit to make this opportunity available to teachers in these three areas.

“The starting point for a Fund for Teachers fellowship is a curious teacher seeking opportunities to grow personally and professionally,” explained Karen Kovach-Webb, Fund for Teachers’ executive director. “With Fund for Teachers grants, these teachers then pursue experiences that inspire classrooms and motivate the students shaping our world.”

“Traveling to five European countries in a three-week time frame afforded me the experiences I needed to fully believe in myself and strengthened the dynamic of the interaction with my students,” said Margaret Atkinson, teacher at Northwestern Middle School in Zachary, LA. With her Fund for Teachers grant, Atkinson traversed Europe researching individuals’ resistance to intolerance during World War II to demonstrate for students the power of an individual and the dangerous implications of intolerance.

“Embarking on an educational adventure that I designed brought my teaching full circle and made me the student again,” said Kylee Shipp, teacher at Silverton School of Expeditionary Learning in Silverton, CO. “By exploring the relationship between art and history in Mexico, I was able to take the time to think about my own learning processes and subsequently construct culturally relevant content for my students. Fund for Teachers provided me with the amazing gift of inspiration that I now share with my diverse population of students.”

“Teachers are charged with preparing students with the requisite tools and skills to become our civic and corporate leaders of tomorrow,” said Jon Jeppesen, Apache Corporation’s executive vice president for Gulf of Mexico operations. “That’s why Apache believes in supporting teachers’ life-long learning. We know that teachers are preparing our next generation of global citizens.”

Application guidelines and helpful tips accompany the online application at The deadline for submitting proposals is January 27, 2012; candidates are notified by April.

Fund for Teachers enriches the personal and professional growth of teachers by recognizing and supporting them as they identify and pursue opportunities around the world that impact their practice, their students and their schools. For more information, visit

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