WOBURN – Superintendent Matthew Crowley is pleased to announce that Woburn High School English teacher Mary DiLuna was recently accepted to participate in the national “We Are America” project.
DiLuna is incorporating the project into a new course this year, called “American Studies,” which was developed collaboratively by DiLuna and social studies Teacher Kim Vogel. The course is being co-taught by the pair.
Through the project, students will develop a sense of identity in the context of American history through various lessons. Students will craft what they learned about themselves and history into a personal narrative, which will be published in a book and on the project’s website.
A total of 24 juniors and seniors are participating in the year-long course. Additionally, students will develop their voices in writing, form a meaningful connection with American history and help recognize the value in their unique lived experiences.
The national “We Are America” Project was co-created by Lowell High School students and their teacher Jessica Lander in 2018 to give space for young people to share their American identities publicly and to spark community conversations around identity. In Lander’s class, students studied major events in American history while simultaneously studying their own personal history and their family’s history.
By listening to each other’s stories, Lander’s students learned to empathize with one another, and understand each person’s unique background, ethnicity and faith. Lander’s students wrote and published two books about their stories.
Believing the work needed to grow, alumni of the class and Lander launched the national project. Over 50 teachers and 1,500 students from more than 25 states have participated in the program since 2018.
“This project is uniquely designed for students to hone their English and history skills, while also learning about themselves, their peers and their personal histories,” DiLuna said. “This project is crucial in helping understand key issues in America, helping better understand each other, and ensuring that all students feel like they belong. Kim and I cannot wait to read the personal narratives that our students will create through this project.”
DiLuna is a part of the fourth cohort of teachers from across the country to participate in the project. Only 20 teachers are accepted into the program each year. The teachers meet virtually each month to collaborate and share ideas.
“Congratulations to Mary for being accepted into this competitive program. I am excited to see the project embedded into the newly launched course created by Mary and Kim,” Superintendent Crowley said. “Conversations like these are so important, and will help our young students to better understand their American identity, as well as their place in history and in the future of our country. I am confident that students will finish this project being more informed and empathic members of the community.”
To learn more about the “We are America” project, click here.