”We looked up the names of people from Haverhill and Bradford who died in the war and learned about the Basiliere Bridge, which was pretty interesting,” said senior Joey Markey, who was among the first students at Haverhill High to use Caradonna’s eBook last spring when juniors studied the Vietnam War. “I was drawn to the photographs and the one that stuck out, and which I wrote an essay on, is a young soldier who doesn’t seem like he wanted to be there.”
The image haunted Markey.
”If I was living back then, I could have been drafted,” he said. “I would definitely say there should be more eBooks like these.”
”My whole class loved it,” Markey said about the eBook. “Some days we worked in groups and discussed our feelings about the war, and a lot of times we discussed the pictures, as they were the most interesting things. A lot of kids liked the songs, too. We never knew the meaning until we worked through the eBook.”
For students unfamiliar with the terminology of the time, the eBook contains a list of vocabulary words.
Caradonna said the book, which was published just before spring break and days before the Patriots Day bombing at the Boston Marathon, fulfills two ambitions. The first is to use the photos and mementos shared by family members in a respectful and meaningful way. The second is to make a historical event relevant to students today.
”These young men who gave their lives were Hillies,” Caradonna said. “My students today, they are Hillies. There is that connection. They see that in many ways, they are the same.”
Over the past 18 months, the School Department spent about $1 million on technology updates at the high school, including whole-school wi-fi, Apple devices for teachers and students, whiteboards in every classroom, and training for educators to develop electronic teaching materials. They are provided in a sleek and modern space known as the iSchool.