Mililani student-teacher team picked for prestigious World War II history program

Mililani student-teacher team picked for prestigious World War II history program
Mililani High School student Armaan Needles and his teacher, Ms. Charlie Buenafe. (Source: National History Day)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Mililani High School student Armaan Needles and his teacher, Ms. Charlie Buenafe, have been chosen to participate in the second annual Sacrifice for Freedom: World War II in the Pacific Student & Teacher Institute.

The program brings student-teacher teams from Hawai’i and America Samoa together with teams from the U.S. mainland for an opportunity to learn about World War II.

For the next six months, students and teachers will learn about the significance of World War II and research a Silent Hero, a military service member who died in World War II and is buried or memorialized at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Needles and Buenafe make up one of only 16 teams from across the country. The other teams selected are from American Samoa, California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

“We are grateful to be working again with our friends and partners from the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites to offer this extraordinary opportunity,” said National History Day Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn in a news release.

“Through this invaluable academic experience, I hope participants gain a deep appreciation for those who served and sacrificed in the Pacific Theater of World War II, as well as a thorough understanding of the essential role Hawai‘i played in those operations,” she added.

The program begins now and teams will travel to O'ahu in June, where they will learn about the impacts of World War II in the Pacific. All expenses are paid for in the program.

Teams will complete and present their Silent Hero profile, which will be featured on NHDSilentHeroes.org and sponsoring organizations.

“This year, our nation will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. It is vitally important to provide opportunities for teachers and students to study the history of the war in the authentic settings provided in Hawai‘i,” said Dr. Shauna Tonkin, Director of Education and Visitor Experience at Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum. “The Pearl Harbor Historic Site partners are honored to be part of this unique program that creates personal connections to the past, and inspires teachers and students to keep the stories alive.”

The program, coordinated through National History Day, is sponsored by Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum, the USS Missouri Memorial Association and Pacific Historic Parks.

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