(Edit 4/9/17: the original link to the N T-H website is no longer functioning, but a link to a copy of it at the Coweta County Schools website has been provided.)
Press Release – March 9, 2015
(Note – A fly-in of Huey and Cobra helicopters to Newnan High School on March 10 has been rescheduled for March 18 due to a no-fly zone in effect around the Atlanta area tomorrow. This release (below) has been adjusted to reflect this change in plans.
Media organizations who wish to attend the Wednesday, March 18, fly-in are welcome, and should arrive at Newnan High School’s front office no later than 10:00 a.m. on that day.
The March 10, 7:00 p.m., speech by Vietnam veteran Colonel Paul Longgrear will go forward as planned. These activities are part of an official 50th anniversary commemoration of the Vietnam War at Newnan High School.)
The 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War will be celebrated with activities at Newnan High School to include classroom lessons, an evening Commemoration Ceremony by a decorated Vietnam veteran on March 10 and a fly-in of Vietnam-era helicopters March 18.
The public is invited to the March 10 Commemoration Ceremony, which will be held 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Newnan High School Auditorium. Vietnam veteran Colonel Paul Longgrear will speak, and Vietnam-era military equipment and historical exhibits will be on display. A reception for local veterans will follow.
Newnan High School’s History and Social Studies Department is organizing the activities in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense.
“Newnan High School is the only high school in Georgia involved with the Department of Defense” in this year’s 50th anniversary celebrations, said Steve Quesinberry, NHS history teacher and Chair for the school’s History and Social Studies Department.
There is no charge to attend the March 10, 7:00 p.m. ceremony featuring Vietnam veteran Colonel Paul Longgrear, U.S. Army (retired). Longgrear – a former Green Beret and a recipient of the Silver Star – served two combat tours in Vietnam within his 26-year military career, and he will relay stories of his service during the ceremony.
Longgrear is a Christian minister and missionary who lives in Georgia, and is a member of the Ranger Hall of Fame, the Arkansas Military Hall of fame, and is currently in charge of the Georgia Military Veterans Hall of Fame.
During Vietnam, Colonel Longgrear was in a special forces camp that was attacked by tanks – an unusual circumstance during the Vietnam conflict, said Quesinberry. “His camp was attacked by about 15 Russian tanks manned by North Vietnamese crews, and the story about how he survived is incredible.”
“The Newnan High School Social Studies Department does a wonderful job providing engaging resources like this in classes, and the connection they are making on March 10 between students, local veterans and our whole community is a great historical opportunity,” said Newnan High Principal Chase Puckett.
As part of the activities, Huey and Cobra helicopters will be flown in to Newnan High School’s Drake Stadium on March 18. The fly-in and visit by Vietnam veterans was moved from its originally-scheduled time due to a no-fly zone in effect around the Atlanta area.
The helicopters – both of which were actively piloted in Vietnam during the war – are being flown from Tara Field in Hampton, Georgia, by army aviation enthusiasts. Fifteen veteran pilots man stations revolving around helicopters, interactively sharing their stories with students and teaching the various components to flight and helicopters. Students will be able to speak with the veterans and learn more about the war and the equipment used during the conflict.
The helicopter landings are not open to the general public, although local veterans and others can contact Quesinberry for possible viewing.
The official commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Vietnam War began last year, said Quesinberry. “You can pick the year that you want to say that it started, but 1964 was the big event – the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution – that is actually going to pave the way for us to jump in, in 1965,” he said.
Newnan High School’s commemoration ceremony and related events are being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Defense, as part of their 50th anniversary activities.
“Newnan High school is the only high school in Georgia directly partnering with DOD to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War,” said Quesinberry.
Several Newnan High classes are involved in inter-disciplinary activities during and leading up to the March 10 and 18 events, including several history classes (Newnan High’s Vietnam and World War II history classes among them), AP Physics, AP Calculus, Geometry and Creative Writing classes.
“One idea can bring in all subjects,” said NHS science teacher Kelley Finger, who is working with fellow teachers to organize the different classes to relate to the March 10 activities and the history of the Vietnam conflict. “One large, integrative lesson is now being used across the board to connect their classes together with a real world situation.”
The approach is being done as a part of the “STEM” (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) focus at Newnan High School. Students who are participating in the inter-disciplinary activities are enrolled in at least two of the involved classes.
In addition to their study of the war as a historical subject, AP Physics classes will study aerodynamic principals in various ways. Students in Nancy Guillory’s Physics class are engineering a device that will be capable of making a safe drop much like the kind done by helicopters in Vietnam. The student-built device must be able to ‘airdrop’ an egg safely from a specified height above the ground.
Math classes will study the design of rotor blades (airfoil), which determine a helicopter’s lift, drag and hovering capabilities. “Students will build paper helicopters using a factorial design in changing parameters to engineer a helicopter with maximum air time,” said Finger. NHS teacher Josh Roberts is demonstrating a remote-controlled model helicopter to help students study their flight physics.
Students in Josh Johnson’s Creative Writing class are covering the March 10 and march 18 events through film, writing and photography (students in the class contributed to this release and accompanying photos).
In all cases, the school Vietnam War commemoration “ties in with the curriculum” taught in Newnan High classrooms, said Guillory.
“Mr. Quesinberry, Mrs. Finger and the other teachers are commended for their organization of this project as a part of our STEM approach” said Newnan High Principal Chase Puckett. Puckett said the project is a good example of the ways that Newnan High staff are working to increase the number of STEM classrooms across campus and promoting activities that better prepare students to be college and career-ready.
(Newnan High School teacher Josh Johnson’s Creative Writing class contributed to this release, including students Maycee Dukes and Natalie Gaines (photography); Lilian Allen, David Futral, Natia Gogotidze, Elisabeth Haynes, Edward Hewitt, Enrique Inostroza, Alexandria Kesselring, Madison Ricketts, Laura Adeline Robinson, Lauren Scandrol, Danna Subia Espinoza, Morgan Whitehead and Chelsea Williams (research and writing); Laura Davis, Maycee Dukes and Hannah Thomas (editors)
Top Photo Caption: The 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War will be celebrated with day-long activities at Newnan High School on Tuesday, March 10, culminating with a public Commemoration Ceremony featuring historical exhibits and a speech by Vietnam veteran Col. Paul Longgrear, held at 7:00 p.m. in the NHS Auditorium. Newnan High School History Department Chair Steve Quesinberry, above (in his Vietnam War class), and other NHS teachers are organizing the official commemoration events.
Bottom Photo Caption: As a part of STEM activities tied to the Vietnam War Commemoration event held at Newnan High School on March 10, Newnan High School History, AP Calculus, Geometry and Physics classes, and Creative Writing classes are involved in inter-disciplinary studies of the war and related themes. Two Vietnam-era helicopters will be involved with the activities that day and, above, teacher Josh Roberts leads students in a discussion of the aerodynamic properties of a remote-controlled helicopter. Left to right are Newnan High students Richard Sheriff, Nadia Russell, Nathaly Quiros, Austin Willis and Corey Presley.