Episode Two

Operation Footlocker

In March 2017, 40 GCISD eleventh-grade students will travel to New Orleans to visit The National WWII Museum with 40 World War II Veterans. While that opportunity was only available for eleventh-graders, GCISD wanted to provide a hands-on experience for as many students as possible.

The National WWII Museum has a traveling exhibit that will be making the rounds to all middle and high schools over the next several weeks - Operation Footlocker.

According to its website, “The National WWII Museum launched Operation Footlocker, providing schools across the country with unique hands-on opportunities to explore the history and lessons of WWII by exploring WWII artifacts.” 

Each footlocker is equipped with 15 WWII artifacts ranging from wartime magazines, dog tags, sand from the beaches of Normandy and Iwo Jima and many more items. Unlike other museum exhibits, students are expected to pick up the items and examine them up close, not simply behind the glass. To ensure preservation of the artifacts, white gloves are included with each footlocker for handling artifacts.

Check out what some students and staff had to say after viewing the artifacts contained in the traveling footlockers.

The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today – so that future generations will know the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America’s National WWII Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifices of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and served on the Home Front. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-528-1944 or visit

Episode One

On November 11, schools across the country celebrate Veterans Day by honoring and recognizing current and former service members who have risked their lives to protect our freedoms. In March 2017, 40 Grapevine-Colleyville ISD eleventh-grade students will have a very special opportunity to once again honor veterans, this time, World War II veterans.

American Airlines, the Gary Sinise Foundation, The National World War II Museum and GCISD have partnered to send 40 eleventh-grade students to New Orleans, March 1st - 3rd, 2017 for a once in a lifetime experience, at no cost for students or for their families.

Soaring Valor, a Gary Sinise Foundation program, teamed up with American Airlines to bring World War II veterans and their guardians to The National WWII Museum to document and share the oral histories of the Greatest Generation. To date, more than 150 veterans have visited the museum as part of this initiative.

This year, GCISD was asked to accompany these veterans to New Orleans as the inaugural group of students selected for the Soaring Valor experience. As the district was limited in the number of students who are able to participate in the program, administrators had to make a determination of how to select students.

“This is an incredible opportunity for our district and the students selected,” said GCISD Director of Humanities Dr. Suzanne Newell. “Ultimately we selected eleventh-grade students because their curriculum centers around United States history and World War II is an important part of that history.”

In order to choose the students who will travel to New Orleans, the humanities department, along with campus staff, developed the American Freedom Project. This essay asked students to examine America's commitment to freedoms at home and abroad, and then detail the extent to which they agree or disagree. Additionally, students that wished to be considered for inclusion in Soaring Valor had to write a letter to a veteran.

Teachers from Grapevine High School, Colleyville Heritage High School and Collegiate Academy evaluated each essay and letter against certain criteria to determine the students that would be selected for Soaring Valor. Grapevine High School and Colleyville Heritage High School each selected 18 participants, while Collegiate Academy was able to select 4 students.

“We understood that this opportunity is one that would appeal to many students and their families, so we were diligent and intentional in selecting students from all courses - on-level, Pre-AP and AP,” said Dr. Newell. “This trip could spark a deeper appreciation and love of history for these students, and we wanted to make sure that opportunity was available for all eleventh-graders.”