Many of Marilyn Caradonna’s history students at Haverhill High School have been riding over the Basiliere Bridge most of their lives.
But until this year, few if any of them were aware the bridge’s name is an honor bestowed on Haverhill’s first casualty in the Vietnam War.
Caradonna’s new interactive eBook, “Vietnam: Here and Beyond,” has changed all that.
Using classroom iPads loaded with the eBook, students learned the bridge over the Merrimack River linking Haverhill to its Bradford section to the south was named for Ralph J. Basiliere.
Caradonna used photos, stories and information gleaned from years of teaching and research to create a resource on the Vietnam War for her American History class for juniors. The result is a lesson that no mass-produced history book can provide: Haverhill’s story of the Vietnam War.
The promise of technology as a tool for learning is being realized in Caradonna’s classes through the eBook she created with help from technical experts who staff Haverhill High’s iSchool learning center.
Students tap on a photo of Basiliere on their iPad screens to call up information about the young man, a U.S. Marine who was the city’s first Vietnam casualty. Students learn that he was born two days after Valentine’s Day in 1947 and was killed at the age of 19 on May 17, 1966, in the Quang Nam province of South Vietnam.
While students read about Basiliere and the other nine members of the military from Haverhill who died in the war, they can click on links to protest songs of that era, including “Fortunate Son,” released by Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1969, and listen to the music through headphones.
Caradonna included the lyrics to that song, as well to “Eve of Destruction” by Barry McGuire and “I’m-Feelin’-Like-I’m Fixin-To-Die-Rag” by Country Joe and the Fish so her students can better understand their meaning.