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Get On Target

May 20, 2016

Birdman sits down with Barbara Hatch after the Show Low Veterans Heritage Project book signing.

A Unique Model for the Enhancement of Education

Military history is the subject, but the skill sets developed by the students are much broader, more personal, and the experience is life altering.

The scope and sequence of VHP teaches high school students real work skills that will enhance their adult lives. Simultaneously, the veteran interviews have proven to be a major catalyst for personal and academic goal setting, as well as creating a passion to work for a social cause.

Skill Sets:

Interview Preparation and Research: Interview Preparation requires in-depth research. The students conduct an interview with a “stranger,” developing questions, creating a “personal” atmosphere, and listening attentively as each veteran tell his/her own story.

Writing and Editing: Students are required to develop writing and editing skills in order to create an essay that is professional quality for publication.

Business Planning: Students collaborate in developing and executing a business plan in preparation for publication of the book.

Personal Accountability: Specific goals are established, job responsibilities are created, and deadlines are monitored by the students themselves.

Public Speaking: In developing public speaking skills, students summarize their interviews and broader learning experience in a formal presentation to the veteran community at the year-end reception.


Bio for Barbara Hatch, Veterans Heritage Project (9/22/15)


After growing up in Illinois, Barbara’s teaching career took her to Senegal with the Peace Corps, Iran, and the U.S. Virgin Islands until finally landing in Phoenix after Hurricane Hugo.  Last year was her twelfth—and last— year at Cactus Shadows High School in Cave Creek, her 40th overall.  She retired to devote her energy to her nonprofit, Veterans Heritage Project, her husband, and her golf game!


In 2003 Salt River Project offered 5 grants to high school students to document local history.  Cactus Shadows students in the then-named Arizona Heritage Project archived the Cave Creek Christmas Pageant.  From 2004 to the present, over 900 students have listened to, recorded, and sent to the Veterans History Project the military service stories of over 1,050 veterans from World War II to Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan.  We are currently working on Volume 12.  We have expanded from one book to four!


Barbara’s students have been recognized by the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame Society, Military Order of the World Wars, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Rotary, Kiwanis, and the Arizona and National Council for the Social Studies.  She herself received the DAR’s Mary Smith Lockwood Medal for Education, the Copper Sword Award from Arizona Veterans’ Hall of Fame Society, and the Gilder Lehrman Arizona History Teacher of the Year for 2012.  She has also received the Patrick Henry Silver Star award from MOWW, Freedom Foundation’s George Washington Medal, Arizona Social Studies Teacher of the Year, and placed in the Top Ten Arizona Teachers of the Year.  None of this would be possible without her dedicated and patriotic students.


Barbara is excited to inform you her school club has grown to a 501© 3 that has expanded to 19 schools in Arizona and one outside Arizona—Marquette Catholic High School, her alma mater, in Alton, Illinois.  Veterans Heritage Project’s vision is to add more schools in Arizona and across the nation to connect students with military veterans through the patriotism of our youth, ensuring the preservation of the freedoms for which our veterans fought.